On the Panama Canal Cruise, DCL does some unique photo ops, including this one of Mickey and Friends.
On the Panama Canal Cruise, DCL does some unique photo ops, including this one of Mickey and Friends.

I am minutes away from turning 41 – August 16th. (By the way I was not bummed to turn 40, however 41 is starting to feel a little too “adult” for me!) Either way, let me just say I had an amazing 40th year of life. It’s been great celebrating 40 all year long. Some celebrate with a big party or an extravagant piece of jewelry, but my 40th year involved amazing bucket list and regular run of the mill trips- many many trips! I wouldn’t have it any other way!

Our first trip of my 40th year was to the Toledo Zoo. I LOVE animals and I had fond memories of this zoo when I was kid.  We had a great mini-trip. I will say the zoo was not as grand as I recalled as a child, but it was a good weekend away.

Next up was a Walt Disney World weekend with my husband in late September. We dubbed this my birthday weekend trip! We stayed at the Swan. (It’s such a convenient hotel for a short weekend trip. Here’s my review of the hotel as a whole.) My mom gave us like 48 hours of babysitting so we had to make them count. Unfortunately the weather wasn’t cooperating and the rain dampened (see what I did there) our plans a little. We tried to make it work but it’s hard eating Food & Wine food in the pouring rain. It was still a good, albeit wet, time for the first day. We were lucky, though, and happened to be there for the 35th Anniversary of Epcot. It was SO MUCH FUN! Crazy, but FUN! The camaraderie of all of us waiting for Epcot to open and getting in the lines to buy the merchandise. We had so much fun and bought so much stuff! We also headed to Pandora/Animal Kingdom on Saturday. It was just a great trip.

Next up my son and I spent a weekend outside Denver visiting my aunt and uncle in late October. It was a great quick weekend and the first time I flew alone with my son, then 4 years old. He played at some local parks and we went to the Denver Aquarium. It was a fun weekend away.

Our next trip was once again Walt Disney World! We did a week in mid-November staying at Disney’s Yacht Club. It was cool because everything was being decorated for the holidays during our trip. Literally everything! One evening there was nothing in the lobby and the next morning it was totally decorated for the holidays. Similarly, Food and Wine ended at Epcot on like a Monday and on Tuesday morning there was a HUGE tree at the entrance of the World Showcase and everything was decorated.  It was a great trip.

Animals where are you?

Up next a Mother-Son trip for my son and I to Walt Disney World while my husband was traveling for work. We stayed in a Savannah View room at the Animal Kingdom Lodge. I won’t lie- it’s hard traveling alone with a 4 year old.  But it was so fun and special. I’m so happy we did it. My son will be in kindergarten this year when my husband does that work trip so I can’t likely do it again but I’m glad I did it last year.

Then we had our family trip back at Walt Disney World a few weeks later. It was our last trip under our annual passes. We had 3 nights at the Cabins at Copper Creek Villas. They were AMAZING! We then transferred to the Polynesian. Also nice. But Copper Creek stole the show on this trip. Read about the cabin here.

Cruising the Panama Canal on Disney Cruise Line
Mickey Bars, my family and the Panama Canal. There’s nothing better!

We stayed home until April when we ventured on a Panama Canal Cruise on Disney Cruise Line. It was AWESOME!! This was our premier trip of my 40th year. We kept going back and forth about whether to book it and at the last minute I decided to do it. We added on 3 nights at Disneyland Resort after the cruise. My son’s favorite memory of this 18 night trip was the Paint the Night Parade at Disney’s California Adventure. Seriously though, it was an awesome trip! The Panama Canal cruise should be on every cruiser’s bucket list. It’s so cool going through the locks. It was an incredible vacation.

Up next week was a 2 night trip to Walt Disney World with my cousin. We stayed at the Four Seasons and had a blast. We did drinking around the World during the Flower and Garden Festival at Epcot, some shopping in Disney Springs, lazing at the adults only pool and had an all around good time. ps, it turns out there is a limit to unlimited mimosas.

Mendenhall Lake and the Mendenhall Glacier
My family and the Mendenhall Glacier

So then the last major trip of the year. I kid you not, 4 days after we booked our airfare for the Panama Canal Cruise, my mother-in-law invited us on an Alaskan Cruise for their 50th Anniversary. So in the same year I had a Panama Canal Cruise and an Alaskan Cruise. 16 of us cruised during the 4th of July week on the Ruby Princess round trip from Seattle.  I knew Alaska would be awesome, but I didn’t expect it to be as amazing as it was. It is definitely one of my favorite places on earth. This is another one that should be on everyone’s bucket list.

And that wraps up my 40th year. I don’t think any year of travel in the future can top the one I had during this year of my life! We’ll see what’s in store for the next 40 years.

Remember to Pack Your Pixie Dust

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