Audiobooks- a Love Affair

Hi, my name is Julie and I love audiobooks. I feel like a weight has been lifted off of my shoulders.

I am old school when it comes to reading. I refuse to get a Kindle, because it feels like I’m cheating on my books. Maybe one day I’ll break down and get one, but nothing will ever be able to replace the feel and smell of a real book.

One thing I have no problem welcoming into my life are audiobooks. They are the best thing to ever happen to driving. They allow me to “read” while I otherwise cannot, whether I’m driving or it’s dark in a car I’m riding in. They also give my eyes a rest, and after a day of staring at my computer and going through files, my eyes thank me for not reading a normal book. .

I’m currently “reading” (listening) to John Grisham’s The Whistler. Per usual, it’s an incredible book and he is everything I aspire to be in an author. It’s about judicial misconduct, murder, money, and a whole slew of other topics.

Audiobooks are easy to download and easy to listen to, but my favorite recent discovery is the app OverDrive. It has won me over even more for audiobooks, because it utilizes my library. You enter in your library card information and link your library, and you can check out ebooks and audiobooks onto your phone. I love this, because for me anything that keeps the county library relevant is a good idea in my book. (No pun intended).

What are you currently reading? I would love to hear from you!

Writer’s Block

It feels strange to call it writer’s block, because there are a lot of things I want to write about. Writing about not being able to figure out what to write about is obviously ironic. I feel like my mind is being pulled in many different places. I want to write murder mystery. I want to write about my trips to Disney. I want to write about every political thought that goes through my head. I want to write about this new Keto diet. I want to write about all of these different ideas, but I don’t know where to start and I don’t know whether anyone even wants to read them. I don’t want to be someone who just writes things for other people to read and then forget about. I have always wanted to write things that leave an impact and help other people.

I think the harshest critic any writer faces is himself. How do I make myself vulnerable enough to share parts of my brain with total strangers on the internet, when half of the time I don’t even like what I have in front of me?

Write what you know. Easy enough right? It’s not, because what I actually know and what I think I know are two completely separate things. I know my opinions and I know my perceptions. I think many people confuse knowing things and thinking they know things, and I strive not to be the person that shares things just because I think I know them as being correct. If law school taught me anything, it was to keep my mouth closed about things I only think I know. Just because it’s my opinion and just because it’s a strong one at that, does not mean that it’s right. Just because a bunch of other people on my Facebook all seem to coincidentally have the same views I do, does not mean it is the right view. It also does not mean it’s the wrong view.

I have been asked by several different people why I don’t talk politics as much anymore. Frankly, I’ve disengaged myself because I enjoy my friends and family not hating me. You cannot say anything in this particular political climate without making someone angry. I choose not to feed the beast. Every time I see a political debate on Facebook it makes me ill, because there are a bunch of people who know half-truths arguing like they are experts in the particular field, and if anyone has the audacity to express a different view they act like the person has committed a crime against humanity. To reiterate, just because you have a different opinion than someone else, does not make you right. There is very rarely a time in life when there is no middle ground on something. If you are unwilling to compromise in your views regarding politics, or anything in life, you will never grow as a person. Our government was not set up for one set of people to always be 100% right. We were set up to compromise and to find solutions.

So it’s tough to write what I know, because although I am not necessarily concerned that anyone reading it would be offended, I do have enough respect for other people to know that not everything I say on a topic will be right. Understand, I still have every strong opinion I have ever had on a subject in any field I have ever discussed before. I am just a little more selective in what I share and who I share it with now. I want to write things that people enjoy, and I am struggling to find my voice about what topic that needs to be in.

I will not set out to lecture anyone on any topic as a twenty-six year old. I do not have the life experience, nor do I have the desire; except maybe about Disney World, I’m pretty good at that.

 

 

Around the (Disney) World in 365 Days

Good Morning to everyone except people who drink decaf coffee. (Just kidding!)

This post is a little different from the normal murder mystery. While most of my interests in writing lie with the theme I’ve chosen for this blog, I have another obsession: Disney World! My boyfriend, Johnny, and I became Annual Passholders for 2018 and we are getting ready for our second trip of the year over Valentine’s Day weekend. Johnny is helping me write this article to ensure that I don’t leave anything out and to make it even more helpful!

When we went in March of 2017 (the trip that spawned the idea to gift each other these passes) we had no idea what Fast Passes are and we had no idea how a few simple adjustments could make your trip SO much less stressful and more enjoyable. For the love of Disney and your sanity, I thought I would share some tips on how to make the most out of your trip. I know when I was first researching all things Disney, I felt like I kept having to go to separate blogs to get information I needed. My hope is that this will be a comprehensive post.

FAST PASSES

Securing Fast Passes should be your top priority when planning your trip to Disney World. Without fast passes you will spend precious park time in lines that you can avoid with a little preparation. Remember, “Those who fail to prepare, prepare to fail,” and while Benjamin Franklin is not in the Hall of Presidents, his advice will allow you to eat a Turkey Leg in Adventure Land instead of sitting in a line for three hours to ride Space Mountain.

Each park is different in regards to fast passes, but I will break it down by park so that it’s much clearer to understand. For fast passes, you have a window of time that you can visit that specific ride or attraction and go in the short line with little wait. For example your window could be 10:00 am-11:00 am. You cannot go early and you cannot go late, it must be within the window.

Magic Kingdom: You can choose any 3 fast pass experiences that you wish. Once all three of these are used, you can pick three more. You have to use the first three before you can make more selections though. I would recommend using your first three fast passes on rides that typically have a long wait such as: Big Thunder Mountain, Space Mountain, and Seven Dwarfs Mine Train. While “it’s a Small World,” “Carousel of Progress,” and other timeless classics provide a fun experience and a short line, they are a waste of a Fast Pass.

Disney’s other parks, Epcot, Hollywood Studios, and Animal Kingdom, are different in how their fast passes work. The attractions at these Parks are separated into groups. In the first group you can only choose one attraction out of the first group of rides and then two out of the lower level of rides and attractions. For example: In Epcot, Frozen Ever After, Illuminations Reflection of the Earth, Soarin‘, and Test Track are in the first group. While you can get three fast passes to Epcot, you can only choose one of those rides from Tier 1 at a time and two other fast passes out of Tier 2.

When you plan ahead and reserve your fast passes before your trip, you can only do three fast passes per day at first. So, if you are park hopping and starting at Magic Kingdom and going to Hollywood Studios, you cannot do two fast passes at Magic and one at Hollywood Studios. You must do three at Magic Kingdom, and when you use those Fast Passes, you can get the three more at Hollywood Studios.

Fast Passes are harder to get for the newer rides, especially the new Avatar attractions in Animal Kingdom, but it is possible to do. You can get your fast passes 30 days before your day at the park, and if you’re staying on site that window opens to 60 days before your park day. If you plan ahead, you can ride any ride in Disney World!

MOST UNDERRATED ATTRACTIONS AT DISNEY

Some rides, attractions, and restaurants get overlooked after being at Disney for a while, getting less publicity, and simply not being the thrilling rides that some of the attractions at Disney are. Johnny and I were surprised at some of the things we enjoyed doing that tend to get overlooked at Disney.

Primeval Whirl is a really fun ride in the tucked away part of Animal Kingdom. That area has a carnival feel to it, and it is different from other parts of Animal Kingdom, but we had a great time on the ride. It is more of an old school roller coaster than the other ride types, but it was so fast and fun and it is easy to get a fast pass for.

50’s Prime Time Café is the cutest place to get lunch. It is decorated in 50’s decor and the waitresses are really good about sticking to the era when they talk. Not only is it esthetically identical to the 50s, the food is AMAZING. It was easy to get a reservation, even at one of the busiest times of year, and the wait was not bad (yes, you do still have to wait sometimes to eat even when you have a reservation).

Monsters, Inc. Laugh Floor is a great place to go and either cool down or rest your feet, while laughing at Mike Wazowski. It was very interactive and it had people of all ages laughing and joining in. I highly recommend checking it out.

The Country Bear Jamboree was a lifesaver for us on our last trip. When we went on NYE weekend, it was very cold. We had brought jackets, but it was still so cold that we were miserable. We were waiting on our dinner reservations in Liberty Square and had a lot of time to kill, so we watched this attraction at least three or four times. It’s adorable and funny, and I was a huge fan of this movie growing up, so I enjoyed it. The lines were short and it was a good way to warm up (or more likely cool down on future trips).

BEING A PASSHOLDER

Being a passholder has a lot of perks. Not only do you get to go to Disney World an unlimited amount of times in that full year, you also get great discounts on things such as food, merchandise, and staying at the hotels on site. In some cases it is up to 20% off. Parking is also FREE at all parks with an annual pass!

The upfront cost of the pass can be a lot to swallow, but even if you were only to go to Disney World twice during that year for a full week each time, it has more than paid itself off.

Being a passholder also puts you in a separate line to get into parks and you have your same magic band all year (which I highly recommend a magic band for convenience) so you don’t have to worry about getting a new one when you enter the parks at the beginning of your trip. You can just go in.

Passholders also get priority in a lot of situations. For example, we had a reservation at Epcot on New Years Eve and we were worried that the park would reach capacity before we could leave Hollywood Studios and get there. However, one of the cast members told us that people with reservations are always let in, as well as passholders get priority.

I definitely never thought I would be a “Disney” person, especially as an adult. I went once as a child and while I love Disney movies and the characters, I was never obsessed with the idea of going to Disney World. For this year though, Johnny and I are so excited to be kids again and enjoy everything Disney has to offer us.