Adorable Disney Halloween Finds On Etsy

Adorable Disney Halloween Finds On Etsy

Spooky season is here, and Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party is in full swing at Walt Disney World. This means Halloween is just around the corner. It's time for Mickey Pumpkins, Villains, and Hitchhiking Ghosts! So grab your coffee and your wallet and shop the Disney magic with these adorable Disney Halloween finds on Etsy!

Disney Halloween Accessories

Every Disney Girl needs some Disney Halloween Accessories. From hair bows to jewelry to nail art. There is something for everyone, even a Disney-themed trick or treat bag!

Disney Halloween T-Shirts

Every Disney Trip needs customizable shirts. My 14-year-old has hers planned for the rest of her life. They are great because you can even wear them after you get home. If you have a Cricut, you can even make your own using SVG files on Etsy. If you don't want to make you're own, we found some cute ones you can buy already made!

Disney Halloween Party

Having a Halloween Party this year? Why not at a little Disney fun and magic into the mix?

Disney Halloween At Home

I don't know about you, but little Disney touches throughout my house make me happy, and my heart smile, especially at Halloween!

Disney Halloween Minnie Ears

If you have been to Disney anytime in the last few years, you know that Minnie Ears are all the rage. They come in every theme and color imaginable, including custom ears. Etsy is full of beautiful and adorable custom Minnie ears. Here are a few of my favorites.

Now go shop and add some Disney Magic into your Halloween! 

6 Reasons You’ll Love The Disney Port Orleans French Quarter Resort in Walt Disney World

6 Reasons You’ll Love The Disney Port Orleans French Quarter Resort in Walt Disney World

For our May trip to Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida, a few years ago,  we decided to upgrade from our usual value to a moderate resort. Being from New Orleans, I was a tad concerned about staying someplace New Orleans-themed.  Let's be honest. It can get cliche and cringe. I'd heard from other New Orleanians that it was a great resort, so we gave it a try! I'm super glad we did. Disney's Port Orleans Resort: French Quarter quickly became my favorite Walt Disney World Resort. It's just practically perfect in that Disney way!

The Vibe of Port Orleans French Quarter

I can't quite explain it, but POFQ has a vibe to it. It's a very relaxed, laid-back vibe. Kind of like New Orleans itself.

Everything just kind of makes you want to move in slow motion like you're on vacation. Which is great except when you're late for your dining reservation!

Disney's Port Orleans French Quarter New Orleans
The vibe at the Port Orleans French Quarter is relaxing and chill!

It's also the smallest of the Walt Disney World Resorts. None of the rooms are more than a five-minute walk from the lobby. This is my favorite part because no one enjoys a long walk from the bus at the end of the night. A plus of it being a small resort there is only one bus stop, and the dining room doesn't feel overcrowded like they do at some of the values.

While Port Orleans French Quarter does have its own buses during park closing and openings. However, it does share a bus with Port Orleans Riverside during the day at times.

The size and the vibe were probably my favorite thing about the resort.

The lobby and gift shop at Disney's Port Orleans French Quarter
Disney's Port Orleans French Quarter Lobby and Gift Shop

Check Availablity

Port of Orleans French Quarter Is Very Authentic

But I loved it because it was New Orleans-themed.

Remember I told you I felt like maybe I wouldn't like POFQ because it was New Orleans-themed?

Disney did their homework and put a lot of detail into pulling off a New Orleans-themed resort hotel. From the street signs to the wrought iron throughout the resort to the rooms, it made me feel like I was home.

Disney's Port Orleans French Guest Rooms
Rooms at Disney Port Orleans French Quarter
Disney's Port Orleans French Quarter Outside Features
A look around the Port Orleans French Quarter Resort at Walt Disney World

Port of Orleans French Quarter Pool

One of the best activities the Port of Orleans French Quarter offers is the pool. Not only is the pool area HUGE with an amazing sea serpent waterslide. There is also a splash area for little kids.

Disney provides life jackets and towels, so you don't have to worry about bringing them from home.

BONUS: Because Port Orleans French Quarter and Port Orleans Riverside are sister resorts, you can enjoy the pools at both resorts! This is one of the few places pool hopping is allowed on Disney property.

Pool and Splash Pad at Disney's Port Orleans French Quarter
Pool and Splash Pad at Disney's Port Orleans French Quarter

Port of Orleans French Quarter Resort Activities

Beyond the pool, the resort offers a lot of fun activities for guests to enjoy when they aren't in the parks. There are pool parties daily, trivia, painting, bike rentals, and a horse-drawn carriage ride.

You can take a trip down the Sassagoula River to Disney Spring.

Disney's Port Orleans French Quarter Boats to Disney Springs, Playground and Arcade
Guest Activities at Port Orleans French Quarter

There is also a playground for little ones, an arcade for big kids, a movie night for the whole family, and Disney movies always playing in the lobby. And if that's not enough, Port Orleans Riverside is just a 10-minute walk away.

On Mardi Gras Day, there is also a golf cart parade complete with beads and Princess Tiana!

The Food at Port Orleans French Quarter

You'll find traditional New Orleans favorites with a few twists. Beyond the beignets, which were a family favorite – both the gluten-free and the gluten-filled Mickey-shaped one, we enjoyed the pizza, the ribs, the desserts, and the burgers.

Gluten Free Beignets, Mickey Beignets and a Beignet Burger at Port Orleans French Quarter
Gluten Free Beignets, Mickey Mouse Beignets, and the Beignet Burger at Port Orleans French Quater

My favorite thing was the blackened rib eye, and I think my ex-husband's favorite was a toss-up between the beignet burger and the shrimp and grits.

One of my other favorite parts about the food court was the drink stations. POFQ has the freestyle machines you find at Wendy's, with tons of drink options for you to choose from. It was nice being able to get Powerade Zero after a long hot day at the parks and not just have soda and a few other options as a choice. I'd stay here again just for this reason alone.

Sassagoula Food Court At Port Orleans French Quarter
Sassagoula Floatworks and Food Factory – the Food Court at Disney's Port Orleans French Quarter Resort

Find More Places To Eat In Orlando, Florida

On-Site Perks For Resort Guests

One of the main reasons to stay at a Walt Disney World Resort is the on-site perks for resort guests.

Disney Transportation to all the theme parks: Magic Kingdom, Animal Kingdom, Epcot, and Disney's Hollywood Studios, plus transportation to both water parks, is one of the main perks. There is also a bus and a boat to Disney Springs.

Resort Guests also get an Early Theme Park entry, where you can start your Disney day 30 minutes before park opening at all four Walt Disney World Parks.

Another perk for staying on-site is making Disney Dining Reservations. On-site guest can make guests can make advanced dining reservations (ADRs) 60 days in advance for up to 10 days of their stay.

Learn More About Vacations To Walt Disney World Resort

Have you stayed at Disney's Port Orleans French Quarter before? What was your favorite thing about the hotel

125+ DIY Disney Halloween Treats Perfect For Your Next Halloween Party

125+ DIY Disney Halloween Treats Perfect For Your Next Halloween Party

It's Spooky Season!

It's time for Mickey Pumpkins and all things spooky and villain. It also means Halloween Parties – at school, at the dance, at home – everywhere practically.

This means you're going to need to make treats for those parties. If you can't be in your favorite place for Halloween, why not add a little Disney magic to your Halloween treats with these 20 Disney Halloween treats? You are perfect for your next Halloween Party!

Disney Halloween Cookies

If your kids are like mine, they love cookies, and cookies make the perfect thing to bring to any Halloween party. You can make a lot, and they are fairly easy. Here are some great Disney Halloween Cookies for you to make!

Disney Halloween Cupcakes

In our house, I'm not sure we've met a cupcake we didn't like. We LOVE cupcakes,, and they are our go-to for most parties.

Disney Halloween Rice Crispy Treats

Rice Crispy Treats are also a kid and party favorite, and you'll love these Disney Halloween rice crispy treats.

Disney Halloween Drinks

t wouldn't be Halloween without cocktails and drinks inspired by our favorite Disney Villians.

Disney Halloween Treats

We're not done! We found even more Disney-inspired treats for you to make this Halloween.

Have you made any fun Disney treats for Halloween? 

More Disney At Home Fun:

Easy Halloween Mickey Mouse Pumpkin Cupcakes

Easy Halloween Mickey Mouse Pumpkin Cupcakes

When I think of Disney and Halloween, I think of one thing – MICKEY PUMPKINS! The Magic Kingdom is covered in Mickey Pumpkins this time of year and they are my favorite thing! When I got home from a fall trip to Walt Disney World a few years, I was inspired to make my own Mickey Pumpkins but editable ones. So cupcakes it was, and that's how we ended up with these adorable Mickey Mouse Pumpkin Cupcakes, that are perfect Disney treats for Halloween parties.

What You Need to Make Mickey Pumpkins Cupcakes

All you need to make these cupcakes are the following ingredients:

Micky Mouse Pumpkin Cupcake Ingredients

How to Make Mickey Pumpkin Cupcakes

These are super simple to make, even the kids can make them. The first thing you need to do is bake your cupcakes according to the package directions. Once they are baked and cooled you need to make your icing, unless you are using can icing. We made the homemade buttercream because it’s our favorite!

Once your icing is made, put it in your decorator bag with the star tip. Next, put some Tootsie Rolls and candy melts in bowls to make it easier. Now it’s time to decorate your cupcakes.

Decorating Your Mickey Pumpkin Cupcakes

Ice your cupcake in a circular pattern going counter-clockwise starting on the outer edge and going towards the center like you are making a spiral-type design.

Mickey Mouse Pumpkin Cupcakes Step 1

Next place the candy melt to make the ears of your Mickey Pumpkin.

Mickey Mouse Pumpkin Cupcakes Step 2

Then put a Tootsie Roll in between your Mickey's ears, this is the “stem” of your pumpkin

Mickey Pumpkin Cupcakes

That’s it, I told you it was super simple!

70+  Cute Winnie the Pooh Party Ideas

70+ Cute Winnie the Pooh Party Ideas


Winne the Pooh has been a favorite of mine since I was little. Like most kids, Pooh, Piglet, Rabbit, Christopher Robin, Tigger, Kanga, Roo, and all of our friends from the 100 Acre Wood are cherished friends. This list of Winnie the Pooh party ideas is full of food, crafts, party decorations, and fun that will be great for a baby shower, a first birthday party, or any celebration!

Winnie the Pooh Party Foods

You can't have a party without cute, delicious themed food. Some cute Winnie the Pooh party food ideas I have seen that celebrate the different pooh characters are:

  • Tigger Tails aka Cheetos
  • Rabbit's Garden, aka a veggie tray
  • Rabbit's Carrot Patch, aka strawberries covered in orange chocolate
  • Honeycombs, aka Honeycomb Cereal
  • Piglets in a Blanket, aka pigs (cocktail sausages) in a blanket (crescent rolls).
  • Hundred Acer Wood acorns, aka mini nutter butter cookies, Nutella, and Hershey kisses.
  • Eyore's House Stix, aka pretzel sticks

Winnie the Pooh Party Decorations

Party decorations make the party! These Winnie the Pooh Party Decorations are adorable and perfect for any party! One of my favorite party decorations for a Winnie the Pooh-themed party is using a Winnie the Pooh Book!

Winnie the Pooh Party Favors

Send guests home with the perfect party favor to remember your Winnie the Pooh Baby Shower or Birthday Party! My favorite party favor I have seen is little jars of honey!

Home Remedies For Sunburns

Home Remedies For Sunburns

It's that time of year again! The summer months can be brutal on our skin. Be it at the beach, at a festival, at the pool, or just enjoying the great outdoors… We have to be careful not to get a sunburn. The best way to do this is obviously to use sunscreen and protective clothing to prevent the burn and reduce the risk of skin cancer before going out and while you are out in the sun. However, between all of the fun and too much sun sometimes we forget to reapply sunscreen. . For those with fair skin, it’s almost inevitable to avoid sunburnt skin. It doesn't matter how much sun exposure they get. To get relief from the sunburn pain and skin irritation I put together a list of effective home remedies for sunburns.

Hydrate and Moisturize

Let’s start with one of the most obvious and easiest ways to treat a painful sunburn. It's a good idea to make sure you drink plenty of water before you go out in the sun. Yet, like sunscreen, when we are outside having fun on a long day, we forget! Then we become dehydrated and end up with dry skin, not only from the sunburn but from being dehydrated. So one of the easiest sunburn remedies is to drink a few glasses of water and lotion up.

Lotions containing vitamin E and aloe vera. or pure aloe vera gel are the best to apply to the sunburned area. These creams will provide soothing relief and will lessen the inflammation of the skin.

Tip 1: Take a cool shower before applying lotion or aloe vera gel.

Tip 2: Organic coconut oil and the leaf of an aloe vera plant are two great natural remedies to soothe your sunburn instead of lotions.

aloe vera plant and gel
Aloe Very Gel is great to relieve the pain from sunburns

Soaks and Essential Oils

Taking a soaking bath with cool bath water is one of the best ways to get sunburn relief. There are a number of things you can soak in to ease the pain and lessen inflammation:

oatmeal bath for sunburn
An oatmeal bath will help with skin irritation and relieve the pain of a sunburn.

 Pastes

Oddly enough, some of the best home remedies come in the form of a paste. Many vegetables and household items possess healing properties useful for a number of things. One of them is a sunburn. Here are some pastes you can make to cool you down:

  • Potatoes- peel, slice, blend, and apply to the affected area.
  • Cornstarch– mix with water, and apply to the affected area.
  • Cucumber- chill, mash, apply to the affected area.
  • Yogurt- apply to the affected area.
cornstarch for sunburn
Cornstarch can be used to make a paste to apply directly on the skin or use with a cold compress to relieve the pain of a sunburn.

 Compresses

Compresses are great for relief! I like compresses because they are portable, which in my life is a definite must. They also tend to be less messy than pastes, yet some claim they're not as effective in the long run. 

After the cooling effects of these have worn off, you can go ahead and rinse them off with cool water. 

Over the Counter Remedies For Sunburns 

Things to Avoid When Treating Sunburns: 

These things will worsen or accelerate sunburn, as a result increasing pain. Be sure to steer clear of these.

  • petroleum jelly
  • butter
  • more sun
  • heat
  • tight-fitting clothes
  • certain medications, both OTC and prescription

If you can’t prevent it, treat it the best you can! I hope you enjoyed these tips. What are your favorite tricks for treating sunburn?

Summer Date Nights In New Orleans You’ll Both Love

Summer Date Nights In New Orleans You’ll Both Love

The sun is out, the days are long, and it is time to change those date night/day routines. Whether you are in a serious relationship, married, or just starting something new, we have some sizzling ideas to make your Summer date night in New Orleans HOT! 

Take a Sightseeing Tour

New Orleans is known for its many historical sites. Summer is one of the best times to be a tourist. You can do everything from taking a Ghost Tour to a Garden District Tour. While we live in a city filled with unique tours, you can always plan your own tour using sites like  Free Tours by Foot. 

Go on a Hike

Take a hike. We suggest Couturie Forest in New Orleans City Park or the Lafitte Barataria Preserve-New Orleans. Whichever you choose, be sure to bring a picnic lunch and take time to enjoy each other's company. 

Cool Down by a New Orleans Pool

New Orleans is home to some of the best pools, which allow you to visit for the day. So if a Staycation is on your agenda, check out these pools.

  • NOPSI Hotel – Day passes start at $60
  • Ace Hotel– $20 cover charge on weekdays from 10 am to 5 pm, no cover charge from 5 pm – 10 pm. Not open to the public on weekends.
  • The Chloe – Daily from 11 am – 9 pm. $40 for a lounge chair or $80 for a table, including a complimentary beverage.
  • The Drifter Hotel-Admission is $15 per session. There is also a $299 annual membership you can purchase.
  • The Country Club– Open daily from 10 am – 11 pm. Admission is $20.

Grab a Cocktail on a Rooftop

There is nothing better than sipping your favorite cocktail while looking down at your favorite city. We found some pretty good rooftop bars that the Big Easy has to offer.

  • Hot Tin- Pontchartrain Hotel
  • Rooftop Terrace-Catahoula Hotel
  • The Frenchman Hotel
  • Alto-Ace Hotel

Road Trip It- For the Day

Do you need to get away but don't really have the time? We found some excellent date road trip ideas just a short distance from the Crescent City.

Have a picnic in New Orleans City Park

New Orleans City Park has so much to offer. You can literally make it a whole date day/night.

Fest with the Best 

As we all know, New Orleans is home to some of the best Festivals. Festivals are the perfect date ideas. Below are a few you can catch this summer.

Visit A Museum

New Orleans is home to some of the best museums in the country! Spend your day visiting one of these great museums with your love. BONUS they are air-conditioned, which is needed in the summer heat.

Have fun in the French Quarter

Yes, it's a bit cliche, but there is a lot of fun to be had in the French Quater!

What fun date nights are you planning this summer?

Quick and  Easy Shrimp Tacos With Coleslaw

Quick and Easy Shrimp Tacos With Coleslaw

I created this easy shrimp tacos recipe a few years ago during Lent. I was looking for something that wasn't fried that was also quick and easy to make after a busy week. It quickly became one of our family favorites!

Sadly, we don't get to eat them as often because my youngest developed a shellfish allergy last year. However, I craved them this week and decided I just had to make them while she wasn't home.

They did not disappoint, and I love these shrimp tacos! This easy shrimp tacos recipe is so easy that it will take you less than 30 minutes to put dinner on the table on a busy night.

Easy Shrimp Tacos with coleslaw and a honey citrus sauce

Super Easy Shrimp Tacos Ingredients

To make these shrimp tacos, you'll need:

Easy Shrimp Tacos ingreditents

How To Make Shrimp Tacos

Heat your tortillas according to package directions and set them aside. I usually do mine in. a small skillet on medium heat for about 30 seconds to one minute per side.

Put olive oil in a large skillet on medium-high heat, add shrimp, Chef Paul's seafood magic, and about 2 tablespoons of minced garlic (I like a lot of garlic, so add as much or as little as you prefer). Cook shrimp on each side for about 3-4 minutes until done.

You can add in some chili powder or paprika to your shrimp while cooking to give it a little extra kick!

o

Sauteed shrimp in garlic and spices

How to Make the Coleslaw and Honey Citrus Sauce for your Shrimp Tacos

While the shrimp are cooking, mix your coleslaw and honey citrus sauce.

In one bowl, add your coleslaw, 1/2 cup of mayonnaise, one teaspoon of lemon juice and lime juice, and one tablespoon of honey. I only used about 1/3-1/2 bag of coleslaw for four tacos.

In another bowl, add 1/2 cup of mayonnaise, one tablespoon of honey, one teaspoon each of lemon juice, lime juice, and paprika.

One teaspoon of lemon juice is approximately 1/2 of a lemon.

One teaspoon of lime juice is approximately 1/2 of a lime.

Coleslaw for shrimp tacos
Easy Shrimp Tacos with coleslaw and a honey citrus sauce

How To Serve Your Shrimp Tacos

Place coleslaw on a warm tortilla, add cooked shrimp, and top with the honey citrus sauce.

Easy Shrimp Tacos with coleslaw and a honey citrus sauce

That's it, perfect for a quick and easy weeknight dinner, a Friday dinner during Lent, or for Taco Tuesday!

Other Shrimp Taco Toppings

Some other favorite toppings you can add to your shrimp tacos are:

  • Queso
  • Pico De Gallo
  • Shredded Lettuce
  • Shredded Cheese
  • Fresh Avocado Slices
  • Sour Cream
  • Caramelized Onions
  • Salsa
  • Mango Salsa
  • Guacamole
  • Red Onion
  • Fresh Cilantro
  • Taco Sauce
  • Sriracha Sauce

The choices are ENDLESS!

Shrimp Taco Recipe

Easy Quick Shrimp Tacos
Yield: 6-8

Super Easy 30 Minute Shrimp Tacos

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes

Super easy shrimp tacos with coleslaw and a citrus mayonnaise sauce. These are so easy it will take you less than 30 minutes to put dinner on the table!

Ingredients

Tacos

Coleslaw

  • 1/2 Cup of Mayonnaise 
  • 1 tsp Lemon Juice or 1/2 Lemon
  • 1 tsp Lime Juice or 1/2 Lime
  • 1 tbsp Honey 

Citrus Dressing

Instructions

  1. Heat your tortillas according to package directions and set them aside.
  2. Put oil in a skillet on medium heat, add shrimp, Chef Paul’s seafood magic, and about two tablespoons of minced garlic. Cook shrimp on each side for about 3-4 minutes until done.
  3. While the shrimp are cooking mix your coleslaw and citrus dressing. In one bowl add your coleslaw, 1/2 cup of mayonnaise, 1 teaspoon of lemon juice and lime juice, and 1 tablespoon of honey.

    In another bowl add 1/2 cup of mayonnaise,  1 tablespoon of honey, 1 teaspoon of lemon juice, lime juice, and paprika.
  4. Put coleslaw on the tortilla, add shrimp, and top with the citrus dressing.

Notes

You can add chili powder or paprika to your shrimp while cooking to give it an extra kick of flavor.

1 tsp of lemon juice is approximately the juice of 1/2 of a lemon.

1 tsp of lime juice is approximately the juice of 1/2 of a lime.

Nutrition Information

Yield

8

Serving Size

1

Amount Per Serving Calories 407Total Fat 33gSaturated Fat 11gTrans Fat 1gUnsaturated Fat 21gCholesterol 113mgSodium 599mgCarbohydrates 19gFiber 2gSugar 5gProtein 10g

Did you make this recipe?

Please leave a comment on the blog or share a photo on Instagram

The Year Disney Saved Me

The Year Disney Saved Me

I have been asked many times why I love Disney so much. The explanation is complicated, but I'm going to try. Walt Disney World is my happy place. That may sound strange coming from an adult, and I've gotten looks when I have said it before. But honestly, when I walk into the parks, it's like the world doesn't exist, and I'm just purely happy and full of joy. To understand this, we need to go back to 2005.

The summer of 2005 was the absolute worse summer of my life thus far. In June that year, my dad died of a sudden heart attack. Fast Forward to August and Hurricane Katrina hit the New Orleans area. We were able to evacuate and, in a split second, turned east instead of west to Texas, which landed us in Orlando at my sister-in-law's house to ride out the storm. When I stepped foot in Orlando, I looked for Disney tickets. Before I knew the devastation that was unfolding at home, I thought, oh, we'll be here for a week, so we should go to Disney for a few days while we are here. I figured it would be a great way to get my then three-year-old out of the house and away from constant news coverage.

Young child in front of Cinderella's Castle at Walt Disney World

Then the unthinkable happened. Our house was on the 17th St Canal; our backyard backed up to the levee, and we were three houses from the breach. In a moment, everything we owned was gone, just gone. So here we were, stuck in Orlando with just a few weeks worth of clothes and a few toys and homeless. I guess that's the right word because we had no home to go back to.

After a few days of trying o figure out our next move, we decided to say in Orlando for at least a year. Unfortunately, as renters, we had no home to go back to, and we wouldn't be allowed back into the city until at least mid to late October. Thankfully we had my inheritance to keep us afloat and a lot of goodwill from strangers and friends to help get us set up until my husband and mom could find jobs. So we did just that, we rented a house and started rebuilding our lives.

Halloween at Disney World with Minnie Mouse

If you have never had to rebuild your life. Let me tell you. It's challenging and stressful. It's even more so with a three-year-old who just lost his grandpa, aka his best friend, his school, his toys, and his home. It's even more so when you haven't gotten over the first significant loss of the summer, and now you have to deal with a second considerable loss. Sure, people will say it is just stuff, but it was my stuff and my memories. It hurts, and it sucks.

In the back of my mind, there was Disney as we were going through the process of setting up our new life. We were 45 minutes door to door from the House of Mouse. FORTY-FIVE MINUTES… It was practically like we were next door. I just knew we needed to get annual passes to Disney. Somehow, someway. People thought I was nuts. “You just lost everything. You shouldn't spend your money on that”. I also got told those same things when we got cable and internet in our new house, so…

Maybe it was nuts. Perhaps I was crazy, but I knew I needed to find a way in my heart. I researched annual pass prices and realized there was a nice discount for Florida Residents. We were getting a refund from the three-year-old's school for PreK-3 that we paid in full for the year. He wasn't going to school in Florida, so we would take some of that refund and put it towards passes. It was probably the best decision I made that year.

I didn't know it at the time, but I can say that Disney saved me that year. It saved my mental health. I know you're probably sitting there like, what? She's crazy but hears me out. I was in the wrong place mentally. Grief and stress from everything that happened led to depression. I needed something to get me out of the house and off the couch, or I would sit and do nothing. Remember, I also had a three year that was grieving too. Sitting at home, doing nothing, was not good for either of us.

Princess Jasmine at Walt Disney World

In October 2005, we got annual passes to Walt Disney World. We went almost weekly that year. I needed those weekly visits to Mickey's house. Oh, how my soul needed them. Stepping inside those magic gates, it felt like the world had disappeared. Nothing mattered but the magic and the fun. The stress, the grief – gone. It gave me a place where I didn't have to think about Katrina or my dad just dying. An escape of sorts. It was where my heart found joy and happiness after the summer of pain and heartache. It's where my mind and soul were able to heal themselves after a summer of stress and grief. It was where a three-year-old boy got to be a three-year-old boy and just have fun without the weight of stress, grief, and depression that was over our entire house. It's where he got a happy mom, not the sad, stressed mom he had been dealing with.

Disney saved me that year. I'm not sure where I would be without those weekly visits to its happiness and magic. Would I have found something else that made me happy and helped me heal? Maybe but I'm not sure. I do know for sure that Walt Disney World did just that. The magic is real, and the magic helped me survive a year of heartache, stress, and pain. That year is now full of happy magical memories instead of dark, sad ones.

Even now, when I walk into the parks, I feel the same. The stress of real life melts away. The Disney bubble surrounds me, and I feel pure joy and happiness. Walt Disney World is my happy place, and I wouldn't change that for the world. Disney saved me that year; it's just as simple as that.