Category Archives: Uncategorized

I Just Can’t Wait…

It’s four a.m. here in my world and I am awake. I am very awake. There is no way that I am going to be able to get back to sleep. It’s not because I am in an unfamiliar place, though I am. It is not because it is very loud outside, though that is true as well. I am awake because today I go to Walt Disney World!

The true Disney fan knows that life shifts when you are your Disney self. You wear things you wouldn’t normally wear, eat food that you normally avoid, and do things you normally wouldn’t do. For The Princess and I that includes becoming morning people. It began on our first trip accidentally and now just seems part of our rhythm. 

Some times it is intentional. When we are at the parks we know the early bird catches the worm or in this case gets the shortest wait times of the day. But when we are in a hotel waiting to head to the airport there is no good reason to be up early. A full night’s sleep is a good and useful thing but my brain is too excited and tells my body that it’s time to get moving. So here I am up a good three hours before I’m usually awake killing time until we can take the shuttle. The Princess has been up even longer. 

There will come a moment when we have a discussion about how wonderful it would be to stay on this schedule in ‘real life’. We could be so productive!  In reality we get home and immediately enter recovery mode and are back to growling at the alarm and sleeping in at every opportunity. The Disney energy is contained and situational, sadly. 

So here I am. 

It’s later now. The breakfast bar is still not open, but it may not be too early to get dressed. I will move as slowly as possible which will still be too fast. I will be ready to go long before I need to be and have to find a way to entertain myself that doesn’t waste too much battery life. It’s going to be a very long day, but I just can’t wait!

You can follow along on my WDW adventures on Twitter (@Pastorinmousear) or by liking me on Facebook. 

Dream Big, Princess

Continuing the theme of graduation advice, I’ve got another post this week.  In all fairness, you should know that this post is primarily for my own Princess who is graduating in a few days.  You may want to skip the last paragraph.

Disney Princesses are a mixed bag of characters.  Some deeply reflect outdated notions of gender roles.  Some barely register as a driving character in their own movie.  Some are extraordinary.  All have characteristics that we can admire and can use to navigate our way through life.  As you graduate and head out into the great wide world, here are some lessons from the Disney Princesses.

Be like Snow White.

Snow_white_disney

No matter what you have to do, make it fun.  You don’t have to whistle while you work, but make an effort to find the joy in the most mundane of life’s activities.  If you can manage to do that, life will be more enjoyable.  We all get stuck doing things we don’t want to sometimes.  Find a way to see the positive and you will be surprised at how that transforms your world.

 

 

Be like Cinderella.Cinderella_Photo

Be kind.  Even when it is easier not to be.  When you choose kindness you make yourself a stronger person.  Kindness doesn’t mean you stay in a bad situation when you have a chance to leave.  Your put on your glass slippers and run out of there.  Kindness means you never sink to the level of casual cruelty no matter what.

 

Be like Aurora.

sleeping-beauty

Trust in your dreams.  They might feel unrealistic, too hard, or just plain crazy but that doesn’t mean you should give up.  Adapt, change, and maybe take a nap but keep following your dreams.

 

 

 

Be like Ariel. ariel-the-little-mermaid

Be brave enough to look outside the world you know.  You never know what you might find when you step outside the things you have always experienced.  It might be scary.  It might be wonderful.  It will probably be a mixture of both.  You will never know if you don’t see it for yourself.

 

Be like Belle. 

Belle2-1-

Don’t be afraid to look beneath the surface to see what is really there.  People will surprise you, sometimes for the worse but often for the best.  Everyone is more than they appear to the outside world.  It is worth your time and effort to find out what’s on the inside.  As an added bonus, don’t forget to take time to enjoy a good book!

 

Be like Jasmine.

jasmine.jpg

Don’t accept something just because that’s the way it has always been done.  There will be plenty of people who will want to tell you what you can and should do.  Listen to them and their reasons, but make your own decision based on what you know is right for you.  Be bold in your choices even when no one has made that choice before.

 

 

Be like Pocahontas.  

Pocahontas_Disney

Champion diversity.  We live in a society that tells us different is scary, bad, or awful.  Don’t forget that you know better.  Our world needs diversity in order to thrive and so do we.   Life is better when we see all the colors.  Use your voice to call out discrimination and hatred whenever you see it.  Speak for those who are not present and call for their inclusion at all levels.

 

 

 

Be like Mulan. 

mulan.jpg

Fight for the right to be the person you really are inside.  You have gifts and experience that no one else has.  Your perspective is of value don’t let anyone put you in a box.  Just because you might fail trying to fulfill a role that someone else assigns you, it doesn’t mean you are a failure.  You can succeed in ways that no one could have expected.

 

 

Be like Tiana.

princess_tiana-0.jpg

 

Have a goal.  Work toward it.  Don’t give up.  Life is not easy.  Don’t expect it to be.  It is a rare thing that you will get something without having to work for it first.  Make a plan, adapt the plan when necessary, but keep working toward your future.

 

 

Be like Rapunzel.

rapunzelSee the world with wonder.  Enjoy every day like it’s the best day ever.  Jump in with both feet.  Experience life to its fullest.  We all have a limited number of days.  don’t get so focused on goals, work, and plans that you forget to have fun.  Plus, don’t forget your frying pan

 

 

Be like Merida.

Merida_web_smallBe brave enough to change your fate.  It is hard to step out and do something different from what was always expected, not just of you but by you.  Sometimes life changes and you will have to change with it.  Don’t be afraid when that happens.  Embrace the change and allow yourself to look in a new direction.

 

 

 

Be like Elsa. 

ElsaPose

Let go of the things that hold you back and keep you from being the person you are meant to be.  things will not always be easy, but hold on to the strength you need tune out the negative.  Pain, failure, and heartache can hold you back if you let it.  Move on.  Look toward the future, not to the past.  Look to your strengths, not to your weaknesses.

 

 

Be like Anna. 

Anna_Render2

Love enthusiastically even if things don’t turn out the way you want them to.  At some point someone will break your heart.  It will hurt.  You will feel like you never want to go through that again.  Those feelings will pass if you let them.  Don’t allow the experience of being hurt to shape how you love.

 

 

 

Be like Moana.

Princess_MoanaKnow who you are.  Listen to the voice inside.  Embrace where you came from, but find your own path.  You will do things that no one ever dreamed you could.  You will head into the world leaving what you know behind, but you will be supported and surrounded by all the people who have gotten you to this point even if you cannot see them.

 

 

 

 

Most importantly

Be like You.Disney morning

People ask me who my favorite Disney princess is.  The answer, of course, is ‘the one I raised’.

You are everything you need to be in order to succeed in this world.  Embrace it. Allow your strength to carry you through the tough times.  Allow your kindness to shine like a beacon to those around you.  Allow your joy to transform this world.

Dream Big, Princess and know that no matter where you go or what you do my love goes with you.

 

Inspiration by Disney

We have once again entered into graduation season.  It’s a little more poignant this year since The Princess is graduating.  To begin our week long celebration I am republishing my graduation blog from last year.  Enjoy!

 

I have never been asked to speak at a commencement or a baccalaureate but it it one of those things I have thought about doing.  What would I say?  How would I inspire young people on the cusp of a new phase of life?  Here are some of my thoughts.

 

‘I’ve got no strings’

pinocchio_got_no_strings

You are on the brink of a new level of freedom.  Your choices will more and more be shaped by your own priorities NOT what your parents, teachers, and other authority figures tell you to do.  This is good and bad.  Freedom is a wonderful thing, but it is also a little scary.  Be brave!  Don’t let your strings hold you back.

‘A whole new world’

whole new world

There is a lot of world out there that you have never seen.  Be open to new experiences.  Go new places, try new foods, meet new people.  You will not enjoy all of them.  That’s okay.  It is better to try something and know that you don’t like it then to take someone else word that calamari is disgusting (it is, BTW).  Don’t except what you are told without experiencing it first hand.  Keep an open mind.

‘I’ve got a dream’

I've_got_a_dream

Have a goal in mind.  Don’t wander aimlessly.  You can reach your goal.  You can achieve your dream.  You can even fail.  But always, ALWAYS have something to aim for.  It can be small (learn how to whittle) or large (run a Fortune 500 company) but have a goal or, even better, have several.

‘You can fly’

Peterpan

You are capable of more than you imagine.  You are not defined by what your grades were or where you’re from.  You all have vast reserves of untapped potential.  Do not listen to anyone who tells you otherwise.  Believe in yourself and you will soar.

‘Just around the riverbend’

riverbend

Life is a journey.  You need to get moving.  What you want will not magically come to you.  You need to get out there actively working and looking for the things that you want.  It may be a little further down the river than you expect.  The sooner you start, the sooner you will arrive.

‘Dig a little deeper’

Princessandthefrog_0987

Never make the mistake of thinking life is easy or fair.  It is neither.  If you want to truly succeed in whatever you chose for yourself you have to commit fully to it.  You cannot do less than your best and expect to excel.  Do not half-a@@ your way through life.  What you put in is what you will get back.

‘Let it go’

let it go

You WILL make mistakes.  They are a fact of life.  Most of them will be small but some of them will be life changing.  Accept them, learn from them, then move on.  Holding on to mistakes will only weigh you down and keep you from something greater.

‘Go the distance’

Go_the_Distance

Life is a marathon not a sprint.  Commit for the long term.  Some life goals are exactly that, LIFE goals.  You will need your whole life to accomplish them.  Settle in for the long haul.

‘Never grow up’

peter_pan__never_grow_up_by_julesrizz-d6hu4ed

You will get older.  You will be more responsible.  You will learn to do all those things that mature adults do in this life.  You will possibly even have children of your own someday.  Don’t forget to have fun.  Don’t forget to be amazed by the world around us.  Don’t lose the joy and wonder we all had as children. That is what will make life more than just living.  It will be an adventure.                   (image by julesrizz-d6hu4ed  on quotesgram.com)

 

 

 

A Pirate’s Life

***So there are no spoilers here, feel free to read if you haven’t seen the newest installment in the “Pirates of the Caribbean” franchise.***

If you have any connection to Disney or a television you are aware that Disney has released the fifth movie based on the park attraction, “The Pirates of the Caribbean”.  If you have been thinking, “Wow, it seems like five movies worth of plot is a lot to squeeze out of a 10-15 minute ride.”  You would be right.  At this point, there is little to no resemblance to the original ride in the movies other than an occasional quote from the ride narration or its theme song.  Honestly, there is no reason this movie (or at least 3 of its predecessors) should have been made.  But for some reason it works and the newest movie is an enjoyable addition to the series.

Both before and after “Pirates of the Caribbean” Disney tried several times to create a successful movie adaptation of a park ride.  Let’s just say the results were disappointing

 

 

 

 

Tower of Terror (1997)tower-of-terror

Disney’s first attempt to create an independent narrative around a ride.  This made for TV movie was disappointing to many.  Of all the rides available, one would think that an attraction with a Twilight Zone connection would be the most engaging to move to the screen.

 

 

 

mission-to-marsMission to Mars (2000)

Did you remember that there was once an attraction of this name?  Neither did I.  It’s a pizza restaurant now.  The movie is about as memorable.  Critics hailed the special effects, but the plot, dialog, and pacing were all considered mediocre at best.

 

 

 

 

The Country Bears (2002)country-bears

This one definitely goes in the the ‘what were they thinking?’ category.  Disneyland’s version of this was already closed before the movie was even released.  The attraction is cute and a fun way to get off your feet for 15 minutes, but honestly they don’t need a backstory.

 

 

 

 

haunted-mansionThe Haunted Mansion (2003)

Of all the movies on the list, this one was the only one that really disappoints me.  The movie isn’t good, however there are glimpses of a better movie that occasionally peeks through.  Perhaps that’s why this one is rumored to be getting a second chance.

 

 

 

 

With this mixed bag of movies, one would think Disney would give up on the idea of great rides becoming great movies, but no.  We have several more rumored to be in the works including movies based on The Matterhorn, Jungle Cruise, and (God help us all) Small World.  Will anything ever be able to match the success of the Pirates?  I guess we will have to wait and see.

 

Disney Countdown

Three weeks from right now I will be winging my way down to Florida for The Princess’s graduation celebration at Walt Disney World.  We are in that awkward phase of Disney trips where there is nothing to do.  We have made all our reservations, booked our Fastpasses, and paid our bills.  The MagicBands are on their way, the Photopass is purchased and ready to go, and we’re checked into our hotel.  It is too early to pack, check into our flight, or order our snacks to be delivered to the hotel.  There is nothing to do except wait.  I hate waiting.

It’s not like I don’t have plenty of other things to do.  There is the aforementioned graduation and its accompanying festivities, there is my upcoming move and all the work associated with that, plus there is still all the same day-to-day that doesn’t stop no matter  what else is going on.  I am not looking for ways to fill my time.  The problem is I’ve spent the last several months watching the calendar so I can hop online and book restaurants and rides.  It feels a little weird to be done.  It would seem to be tempting fate to say that we’re ready for the trip.  Right now we are in the space in between getting ready and leaving.  Like most in between spaces it’s a challenge to be in.

It is hard to be in between, yet most of our life is spent in these spaces.  In fact, there is a theory that says that all great ministries are done in between spaces: in between hope and fear, life and death, death and resurrection, what is and what will be.  As uncomfortable as those places are that is where we are needed the most.   That doesn’t make being in between easier, but it does give it purpose.

What are you in between?  Now and next?  Here and there?  Preparing and doing?  Find the holy in your space and reach out from there to those sharing that space with you.  The time is both blessed and stressful.  Make the most of it.

 

Featured image was found on northshoremama.com with no creator cited.

Here Comes Pandora!

As I have stated in previous postings, change makes me nervous, especially change for change’s own sake.  I know this is ironic since I am a pastor and extol my congregations to embrace change all the time.  I know that change is a requirement for growth.  I know that organizations that are stagnant will die.  Change is good and important and crucial.  I hate it when it actually applies to me.  I especially when it changes thing I love like, for example, Disney’s Animal Kingdom.

So why Pandora?

That’s the first question that comes to mind.  There seem to be other franchises that would be a better fit for a Disney Park.  As others have shared with me, even a fairy tale land with dragons and unicorns would seem to make more sense,  But what we have is an entirely new land based on a film from 2009 with no Disney connections at all.

Interestingly, some of this debate echos the discussion that happened when Star Tours was first built in 1987.  At that point there was no connection between between Disney and Lucasfilm.  The Star Wars furor had died down possibly forever with no new movies on the horizon.  That was over a ride, not a whole new land!  Thirty years on, we can look back and realize that move was prescient.  But at the time, who knew that Star Wars would come to belong to Disney and would be getting its own brand new land (though after Pandora which Disney doesn’t own).  Honestly, I don’t understand the reasoning.

I am waiting to see what people have to say and, of course, I will give you my own very honest review after my trip next month.  We’ll see if the change is for the right reasons or just something showy.

 

Guardians of Grace?

************************ MINOR SPOILER ALERT*************************

I’m writing about the two “Guardians of the Galaxy” movies today.  There are no major plot points revealed from either movie.  However, if you haven’t seen them and are a movie experience purist and want to see them with no preconceived ideas, you may want to skip this blog today.

************************ END SPOILER ALERT ***************************

One of the more wacky additions to the Marvel Cinematic Universe has to be “The Guardians of the Galaxy” films.  The characters are not those that we might expect to get their own movie, let alone a franchise.  They are definitely, third tier characters or lower.  Even those of us who read more Marvel comics than those that had mutants or spiders, had no idea who these people might be.  Going into the first one I was confident that #1: The soundtrack would be good and #2: The MCU hadn’t let me down yet.

“Guardians of the Galaxy” was a surprise and a delight.  It was funny and irreverent without having to descend to “Deadpool” levels of funny and irreverent.  There was action, adventure, an origin story, and the overarching plot of the whole MCU was advanced.  At it’s heart, however, none of that was what the movie was about.  “Guardians” was really about what makes a hero. A hero isn’t necessarily the best person, the most talented person, or even  someone inspired to help others.  Sometimes a hero is simply the person who is willing to do what needs to be done in spite of his or her flaws and imperfections.  Which, of course, means that we can all be heroes.  Audiences responded to these misfits and rooted for them even though most of us had never heard of them before.

“Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol 2” came out a few weeks ago and to my mind was not as strong.  The soundtrack was not as good, the action was repetitive, and it just felt like they were trying too hard to recapture the magic of the original.  There was a strained quality to the first half of the movie.  The humor felt forced rather than organic.  There was still action, adventure, and an origin story, but the overarching plot of the MCU was not advanced.  Like the original, however the larger message of the film was more than the sum of its parts.  “Vol. 2′ was ultimately about what makes family.  Family isn’t about who we may be related to, how we are raised, or what is considered ‘normal’ family structures.  Family is about who we love and who loves us.  It is about those we choose to share our life and those who put up with our faults, foibles, and rough edges.  Perfection is held up as a negative example and forgiveness is what brings people together.  Again, this gives us hope than even our flawed lives can be of worth to the right people.  Call me crazy, but this sounds like grace to me.

Grace is love in spite of flaws and finding courage in spite of fear.  Grace allows us to see the best in ourselves and know that we are of value.  Grace tells us that we are forgiven even when we don’t deserve forgiveness.  Through grace we find hope, love, and the strength to be our best possible selves.  And we find evidence of it in the most unexpected places, like sci-fi movies about a group of outsiders.

All of that is why grace is so amazing.