Florida

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?

Hold Onto Your Shorts, January | Beach Sunset Photography by Rachel Abrahams

Sand Crossover Sea Grass by Aspiring Images by Rachel

My theme for this month of January? Hold onto your shorts.

I thought with the end of the Holidays, the new year would start off allowing me to eeeaaasseee on down the road like The Wiz......apparently not. It has been fast and furious both at work and with life at home. I typically fall into bed like a sack of potatoes and I'm asleep. It's ok though. I am not ashamed in admitting I just put my Christmas tree away. Well, it's now in it's box which has yet to make it to the garage. That's pretty much away, right?

Why so blase about this? Well, I spent most of last year learning how to just chill the eff out about silly things. I worked really hard on letting go of the things that I just have no control over and taking a stand on the things I can. So, the naked Christmas tree standing in my living room staring at me for most of January? I decided it could wait. Instead, I focused on working my new goals this year both personally and professionally. Have I maintained them? No, I already dropped the ball but that's ok. I just try, try again.

I decided to start a daily gratitude journal. Just a little something to remind me when I am feeling all dramatic and nobody loves me (so I'm gonna eat some worms) I can refer to this and enjoy those things that make me feel grateful. I wrote in it for 5 days and then it's sat dormant in my purse the remainder of the month. It's cool. I'll re-start soon. Maybe even tonight? My hope (and I already started it) is to convert it into a smash book. I used to love scrapbooking and this is a way chill version with a lot less rules. Totally more my style.

I also realized the amount of books I read last year was just abysmal so I went on Goodreads, upped my book challenge, and have already read 2 books this month. Remember that Christmas Tree in my living room? It's been my book reading buddy. Read a book or put away the tree? Yeah, there's no question there.

As for this year? I decided I want to live a lot more positively. My daily question I now ask myself is did I make someone happy, help someone out, reach out to someone I haven't spoken to in awhile, and/or let someone know how special they are to me? If I can say yes to even one, it's been a great day. I've been doing this for awhile though - probably since last August - and it's been fantastic.

So yeah, January is almost over and I am just now getting a blog post out but, honestly, I kept getting really stuck on a topic and after my long days I would stare at the computer to inevitably decide sleep was more important. As for the topic, I finally went with honesty. I've been told that's the best policy.

Notice how I put lovely beach sunset photos in between my ramblings? I figured I'd give everyone the choice to:

A) Look at the pretty pictures

B) Read the randomness or

C) Do both and join my Awesome Possum Club. I should get around to making a sticker for that.

Anyone else working on personal/professional goals? Have you kept them going smoothly or randomly like me? Should I mention Floridians are complaining about 50 degrees as being cold while everyone else is experiencing snowpocalypse? Who else out there was annoyed at how soon they had pukey pink Valentine's stuff up in stores?

Beautimous Florida Sunset On The Beach |Beach Photography by Rachel Abrahams

I live on the East Coast of Florida which means we have sunRISES over the beach - not sunsets. In other words, to see the beautiful light on the water I need to get up early and, well, that's really hard for me. I always promise myself I will get up really early on the weekend (cough), especially since I am up that early anyways during the week (cough cough), and go down to the beach for some sunrise photos (cough cough cough). I'm sorry - I keep coughing at my own good intentions (that I keep sleeping through). When I was invited to visit the West Coast of Florida, which meant I would finally see the sun set OVER the ocean, I was a happy little camper.

I do admit almost every time I visit the beach and see the sun setting, I think of my friend Justin who visited us "east coasters" when I was in college. We all went to the beach and to maximize our sun bathing time, we turned our towels toward the sun (away from the water) and Justin just laughed at us. He wanted to know why we would waste a perfectly good beach visit by not facing the actual ocean. Then he plopped down his chair into the sand, facing the water, and continued to make fun of and cracked up at us. I had to remind him our sun doesn't set over the ocean. When he pointed out he's from the west coast of Florida and they get the joy every day of seeing the sun set over the Gulf of Mexico, I was quite green with the jelly monster.

Ever since having that conversation, I craved seeing the sun set over the ocean and wasn't going to miss my photographic chance when I finally got to see it.

Getting back to my west coast visit; A storm passed through prior and its remnants hung around during sunset. The colors were intense and began as pastels, deepening into amazing blues, and then ending the light show in purples. Each time I'd think I saw the best the sunset had to offer it would shift into a new color level. I stayed down on the beach for close to an hour - which did result in getting eaten alive by the sand fleas. I didn't care and called the bites my badge of honor.

Looking at these photos, it was definitely worth it.

Fantabulous Fall Fun At The Magic Kingdom | Disney Photography by Rachel Abrahams

AspiringImagesbyRachel-WaltDisneyWorld-MagicKingdom-FallDecoCastle

During the fall season, I get very jealous of the beautiful weather happening up north. Florida's fall weather consists of cooler temps (70's), some rainy days depending on the fronts moving through, and the official ending of Hurricane season (yes, we Floridians celebrate the end of Hurricane season - especially the "dry" years). The major photographic bonus of fall are some amazing sunrises and sunsets.

As a result, I fill my home with red/orange/yellow hued fall decorations to help get myself in the spirit of the season and I also make the time to go to Disney to see their wonderful fall and Halloween decorations. When I see their decorations up, then I know fall has arrived!

Magic Kingdom always adds the sparkle with multiple decorations, especially up and down Main Street. Mickey pumpkins are in every corner, fall leaves abound, and it definitely gets you in the spirit. When these decorations go up, it's not only seasonal but it indicates Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party has arrived! This is a specialty party requiring a separate admission ticket and I love going because it means adults can dress up too and trick or treat! I'm all about socially accepted adult trick or treating. Yet another reason why Disney is awesome (yup, just letting my Disney nerd flag fly right now).

At night, the park gets even more into the Halloween spirit with specialty lighting and Halloween music playing. I truly believe Disney's most magical time in the parks is at night. If you haven't seen the park at night (or only when you're crazy exhausted from hoofing it through the parks all day), then you're missing out. I am such a fan of visiting at night. Can you tell?.

........And here's a bonus set of pictures showing my cousins and I dressed up for Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party. We had a blast coordinating as a group and made lots of people smile and laugh with our colorful nerd costumes. EVERY SINGLE character we met tried to spin the propellers on our hats. Buzz Lightyear did it repeatedly, which cracked me up. It was loads of fun. We have already started throwing around some ideas for next year.

FYI, I'm in the green.

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