Disney 2018 #2 – Niece flabbergasted (and nice) in an awesome park

Disney Castle ParisPromise of Disney

I was told whenever you make a promise, you make good on it. So we promised our niece a while back that we would take her to Disneyland for the first time.
And as you might now, we almost never go there ;-). So there we were, with my inlaws and my niece driving for around 5-6 hours into France towards Paris once more.
As we mostly go with just the two of us, this also put a new perspective on it for us as well. We were going to experience the park through the eyes of a 7 year-old on her first visit.

The 1st time

It actually begins upon entering the security gates in front of the park. Already awestruck by the hotel, our niece went from one amazement into the other.
The fountains, colors, the flowers in the beautiful kept gardens and of course the majestic Disneyland Hotel, she was walking around with her eyes peeled and sounds of amazement.
And then, we went under the hotel towards the actual gate. It was like she exploded in amazement all over again. Walking a bit further, crossing under the train station, more amazement on the first central plaza of mainstreet.
And then the homerun was finally hit..

The Castle

“Woooooww…… It’s beautiful!” She didn’t shout, when I asked her about it. She almost whispered it. Clearly in awe of the castle in pretty pink on a blue sky blackdrop at the end of the main street.
Sure enough, she wanted to get there and see the dragon we talked to her about underneath the castle. But not before we took a picture on the back bordes of the castle and she spotted the first princess dresses.
I want one! Ahem sure.. but there’s so much more to see. Let’s explore and after today think about you would really want to take home, shall we?

Rest of the days

We spend the rest of the weekend riding some attractions like “It’s a small world”, “Pirates of the Caribbean” (twice), Start Tours (her favorite so far), climbing Davy Crockett’s Adventure Tree, playing in the Pirate’s Playground, walking through the Skull Cave and a lot of the Disney stores.
And offcourse, Ratatouille, which she adored! I’ve got to say, my niece is a real champ when it comes to listening, keeping a bit close to us and she was always cheerful. Such an easy kid, even in restaurants and just walking for a bit. Sure, you do have to entertain a bit, but I think the ambience helped as well 😉
For instance, we went down to the Rainforest Café and although there’s some waiting involved usually when ordering food, this restaurant has a jungle theme to it with animatronic animals both obvious and less obvious all around. So there’s always something going on which entertains the kids, which is nice.
But in a buffet restaurant, like Plaza Gardens on Main Street, she’s at home as well. And since she was such a good girl, we naturally had to reward that!

Sulley pillowThe gifts of Disney

So in the end, she got to pick some presents to take home with us. She picked a doll of Moana (from Vaiana) and a Sulley pillow. And of course she already had some mouse ears etc. 😉
We got some new tea mugs for ourselves and my father in law actually bought a nice, not so obvious Disney, hoodie.

Next time

While being back, plans are already being made inside the mind of my girlfriend to return alter this year, I’m positive 🙂 Well, I like it a lot too, but I would like to go on some of the rollercoasters next time, see if she likes that.
After all, she did enjoy Pirates & Star Tours a LOT and those are not the easiest attractions on a 7-year old. Well we all have subscriptions now, so we only need a hotel and to get there. Easy enough. I’ll leave you with the wonderful 25th anniversary fireworks show, which we naturally watched as well:

Almost a year passed

A year.

Wow.. it’s been almost a year since I actually wrote a blog. I just realized that when updating and fiddling around with the website. I didn’t start my year traditionally with resolutions or even recapping them, probably since my new year wasn’t all that traditional traditional to even begin with. Well sure, we played games with family at a table, watched fireworks and ate the traditional oliebollen (deep-fried raisin buns) en apple beignets. But we did actually do that at an attraction park while riding rollercoasters, watching shows and eating at a buffet diner in cowboy style on New Year’s eve. Certainly not the typical New Year’s eve.

Is it pause or paws?

So, what’s happened?

When realizing it had been this long ago, I immediately tried to recap what actually happened last year. Some of the things that occurred, not necessarily in chronological appearance:

  • We’ve lost Taris, but Dex adopted us
  • Saw my brother and sis-in-law going through the same thing ending up with adorable Mette
  • Supported them with loss in her family
  • Helped Maikel + Natasja to cut & clear trees after a storm
  • Went to some Star Wars movie with Egmond, added to our lightsaber counts.
  • Visited the Amsterdam Light tour in a canal boat with my niece and in laws
  • Picked up a bit of mixing/making music again
  • Rekindled painting with light, revived 500px contribution
  • Ate a bit of sushi, steaks and more higher end food+ discovered new places to do just that (i.e. La Terraza Del Gourmet, Walt’s, a sushi church?)
  • Visited a bunch of concerts (Stereophonics, Guns ‘n Roses, Anouk, Train, Lisa Lois
  • Visited Disneyparks multiple times
  • Bought new human powered bikes, so more exercise 🙂
  • Spent way too much time bingewatching and Netflixing
  • Bought a new car
  • Visited a certain Paul’s too much (or according to Cynthia: never too much)
  • Saw Cynthia get a cat tattoo
  • Visited our favorite guys in Spain and they even visited us
  • Enjoying all kinds of stuff with friends and family
  • I got a new job
  • My mom (-in-law, but sure don’t feel like it) got cancer and got rid of it
  • Learned a couple of new skills
  • Did some laps of swiming
  • Reached level 40 (admittedly took a bit of grinding, you’ll understand if you know me a bit 😉 )
  • I probably forgot a bunch of things.. Been a challenging year.

The future

While my job is to set the bigger picture for IT Workplace Services in the future 3-5 years, I like to plan less far ahead in personal life. And live more.
That should continue in this year, despite anything that should happen. So we already know we’re going to be having fun in the sun, giving our niece her first Disneypark experience(s), visit some more concerts (even Toto with my mom-in-law :-)), visit another Star Wars movie and enjoy every bit of sushi and steak we come across 🙂 And renovate that damn bathroom, finally 🙂 Maybe even redo the garden, if possible. And take care of my personal well-being and maybe wait less longer to write a blog.

Still: the best of it all is sharing it all loved ones. And especially sharing all good and bad things to come with Cynthia.
Let’s grow old together, sharing and living.

Love you honey.

Merry everything and happy always!

Merry Everything and Happy Always LBG14-MDBN-01Merry again

Yes, ‘ tis the season to be jolly! Since my blog about the 10 years after my mom passed away, I get the feeling every Christmas is getting better again. Writing does have certain healing effects I guess..
For the first time in a few years, I am actually enjoying setting up the Christmas tree. Though it is a small one this year as per the missus wishes. I bet the cats would have liked the one reaching the ceiling more though 😉
Through time, patience and education, I can now honestly say I am ready for Christmas. I just feel I can enjoy it to the fullest once more and I think that’s a beautiful thing. At the same time, I find some smaller things more valuable.

More personal or easy?

I know, times change. But I do really miss the times when people would actually write a card to wish a person a good winter/Christmas/new year. Sometimes with a personal note.
Or hand pick a card to match the person/situation/attire.

So every year, we send Christmas cards to the whole family, friends and folks in our street.
And rush a bit to write back to people we get cards from, so we always return the favor.
I find it a simple, personal and thoughtful way to express you wish each other luck, good health and pleasure for the times to come. Unlike Facebook.

Merry Facebook?

On Facebook and other “social” media, people smack a random non-personal greeting on their own wall as clickbait or wait for people to like it.
I did see some folks actually put more than 2 seconds of thought and effort in a wish trough Facebook. Even saw some posts of customized wishes on other people’s walls, but it’s a rarity. More kudo’s to them though!
I know, Facebook is a lot easier and faster to send out your greetings to the world, but it’s hardly personal.

Ask yourself

Would I appreciate a personal card more than a undirected message on Facebook?
Would I write a card back if someone took the effort to send me one?

I invite you to buy a stack of cards, some stamps and pick up a pen.
I personally think that writing a card shows way more interest and effort towards the receiver opposed to that impersonal broadcast-to-all message on social media.

And when a person writes back to you and undertakes the same effort, that’s golden in these times.
I applaud you, it’s much appreciated! 🙂


I almost forgot: some argue the cost of sending cards. Please go ahead and post something on Facebook. But as I already wrote once:
Please donate (part of) the savings to a good cause, there are people actually needing it to be on their way to a merry everything and a happy always.
And I assume most of our Facebook friends can easily afford a couple of cards anyways.. And you can go around the postal fees by delivering in person, with more appreciation to show for it by the receiver 🙂

If you do want to send a card: Buy a stack of 10 from a national post office (10 euro’s including stamps), make personalized ones through a printing company (10 for 2 euro’s) or be creative yourselves (priceless)!

Either way: Remember it’s about more than those 2-3 days in december, have a