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Am I Too Old For Magic | Walt Disney World Photography by Rachel Abrahams

I absolutely adore reading. I have always been an avid reader and didn't let the "required reading" of school/college even try to beat that out of me but I also have learned when I get sucked into a book everything else in my world disappears. That can be both a good and a bad thing - I am engrossed in other worlds I could never imagine on my own but that also means my real life can get ignored. This isn't so bad if you can do it in healthy doses but healthy doses of reading is not something I am prone to do (so far this year, I've read 16 books. My goal for 2015 was 30.....).

It does mean I sometimes have to say to myself "you can read for 20 minutes AFTER you take care of X, Y, Z adult/boring life requirement" and the bargaining (typically) works. It's just like what my parents would have to do with me as a kid.  BTW - My mom once learned to be super specific in bargaining with me. She once said "No TV in the morning until you are dressed with your shoes on". The next morning she came out to me watching TV, in my pajamas, with my shoes on, and no socks. But I had my shoes on like she said!

I think it's healthy for adults to keep their childlike wonder and imagination. I absolutely admit I am the first to line up to see the movies with fantasy, superheroes, and magic (yup, I have almost every Disney animated movie, the extended edition Lord of the Rings trilogy, all the Marvel Avengers movies, and all of the Harry Potter movies as well and that's just the tip of the nerd-collection-iceberg).

I also love living near the theme parks and have been an avid lifelong Disney fan with annual passes and also recently added Universal Studios to my favorites list. I run inside just as fast as the kids and giggle and scream like I was 10 years old (to the embarrassment of those with me - I know they love me and tolerate my idiocy with some deep sighs and probably a little side eye too).

Books spark the flame of magic and then movies and theme parks take those amazing worlds even further by actualizing them into what you always imagined. I find it all to be perfectly complimentary, honestly.

As I was home sick for a week with a cold, I needed comfort and I reached out immediately to my favorite books and movies which I realized were all intended for young adults and kids. I wondered - is this lame? Am I seriously in denial of trying to be an adult and instead disappearing into these alternate worlds where I can fly, do magic, and even battle evil with superpower skills I could never have in real life?

My answer - a resounding hell to the yes. Why? Because it's awesome. Do I really need to explain myself? Nope. Am I too old for this magic and wonderment? Some might say yes but those are also people who are lame or unwilling to admit it's UBER FUN to be get sucked into these alternate worlds.

I know I am not alone in this.

Now, if you'll excuse me I am going to get back to my book I promised myself I could keep reading when I finished this post.........

I Heart Magic Kingdom in the Rain | Disney World Photography by Rachel Abrahams

I know I've said this before but there is nothing better at Walt Disney World than seeing the Magic Kingdom AT NIGHT. Most people never make it to the evening, especially when traveling with younger children, but I feel like you are really missing out if you don't go visit all those amazing lands of Magic Kingdom in the cloak of darkness. Dare I say, being there at night actually makes the fantasy and imagination even more intense and amazing (yeah, this Disney nerd is totally all for that).

Recently, my cousin and I decided to head to Magic Kingdom for the evening and hit up one of it's late night openings where you can wander the park until way past the midnight hour when Cinderella's coach turns back into a pumpkin (also known as the hour when those who hit the park at 7AM can't bear to be on their feet any longer). Typically, everyone makes it to the evening fireworks and then the masses start exiting the park and it gets much quieter and the lines more bearable.

So, what could make it not so fun at night? Rain. For the normal person, rain just makes thing all sorts of......soggy. I mean, walking around in wet shorts and soggy shoes is definitely on the list of torture somewhere. Well, this photographer was super STOKED when it was raining - especially when I knew it was going to pass and then leave an amazing reflective light on the ground. The rain did mean the evening parade was cancelled but I feel like I got the better deal. I saw a photographer I admire get some beautiful shots post-rain and I had been yearning to try my hand at it and fiiinnaaalllyyy got my chance.

Magic Kingdom Storybook Circus Sign in the Rain by Aspiring Images by Rachel
Magic Kingdom Storybook Circus Sign in the Rain by Aspiring Images by Rachel

My poor cousin was then dragged all over Fantasyland (original and new) with me while I tried to get the shots I had dreamt of in my mind. I tried to pay him in Turkey Legs but he preferred bottles of Coke and those chocolate covered pineapple desserts at the Big Top Souvenirs and Treats in Storybook Circus. Haven't tried them yet? They are beyond fantabulous and they go quickly. I like to pick a wall to sit on and eat them while watching the Dumbo Ride. I promise - you'll become addicted too and then you can join the club.

On a side note, I do have to say, my family and friends deserve medals and great honors in their name for their patience with me while traveling. They always let me indulge my photo taking needs, which typically includes me saying "Wait, I want to take a pic here" and everyone then stop and finds a place to lean or rest. Seriously, they are the best. You guys know who you are.

See the very first picture of the fireworks? In my eagerness to find a better spot to stand while watching them, I wasn't watching my step (it was also already dark and I was ignoring the warnings over the speakers saying it was dark and to be cautious) and I did the infamous step forward but it was actually a step DOWN. My cousin was behind me and one moment I was moving forward and the next I just dropped like a rock about 4 inches below where I was and did the wheeble-wobble-regain my balance and arms flailing while falling forward to avoid face planting thing.....in the semi-dark.....with tons of people around. When I regained my balance, I looked around and many people had that "Yup, that's what you get for shoving yourself into a better spot" look on their face. In the end, it was worth it so phooey to those people I'll never see again. My cousin said it was beyond hilarious to watch. I am here to entertain, folks.

What's your favorite time to visit the parks at Disney? Do you have a favorite "must have" treat whenever you visit? Does anyone else avoid the water rides, like me, to avoid the soggy torture?

I Am Craving Color by Rachel Abrahams

It is grey outside. Dreary, wet, and grey so I was craving some color. I know I shouldn't complain as some people are dealing with snow. I am dealing with the post "I took my holiday decorations down" blues and the weather isn't helping.

This was taken at Epcot, Walt Disney World, during the 2012 Food & Wine Festival. If you haven't been, I highly recommend it. Just be ready for some crowds & some raucous attendees (hello, it's not just wine they are serving). It's great for people-watching because some groups have hilarious "I drank around the world" (i.e. Epcot's World Showcase) shirts on as well as crazy hats to keep you highly entertained.

I'm not feeling very witty or descriptive today (not a lot of sleep - last night was the pug puppy's first night sleeping in the bed) so I am going to just leave you with the awesome sunset colors as your take home feel good of the day.

The Clouds Are Real, I Swear by Rachel Abrahams

AspiringImagesbyRachel_Disney-AnimalKingdom-EverestontheWater

I showed this to someone recently & the first thing they said was "Cool sky. Is that a stock image or did you Photoshop it in yourself?"

Huh? What?

Until that moment, the idea that the sky looked so nice that I couldn't have possibly captured it that way had not occurred to me but I promise you, I did. It was incredibly hot that day (of course it was, it's Florida) and there were storms coming later which meant the preceding weather was an oppressive heat that made me question my sanity for being anywhere outside that day. There were soooooooo many people at the Animal Kingdom park in Walt Disney World and I really didn't want to spend a lot of time in the park. My mom was willing to be my partner in crime while I wandered around looking for ideal photo opportunities with the promise we would ride Expedition Everest (excellent roller coaster) and also have lunch at Tusker House (it was delish). I know this isn't the most original photo and many people before me have taken this shot but I HAD to do it when I saw these amazing clouds floating by. They were moving quickly so I just stood there waiting for the right "grouping" and took my moment.

Plus, if you look in the water you can see the reflection of the sky. I may be getting better at Photoshop these days but there is NO WAY I am that good, haha!

P.S. In my opinion, Animal Kingdom is my least favorite of all the parks at Walt Disney World. When I think of going there, images of oppressive heat, overwhelmingly crowded walkways, and battles with double-wide plastic strollers invade my mind. Maybe I haven't given it an honest chance but I've been approximately 10 times now and I only look forward to Asia & Expedition Everest. Anyone else feel this way? Willing to convince me otherwise?