A to Z Challenge 2020: My Bucket List! – Past, Present, and Future: D is for DisneyWorld

I’m taking the long way around with A to Z this year. My plan is to post every couple of weeks, so I will have time to visit other blogs in between and still have time to write.

Next up in the A to Z Challenge:

D is for – DisneyWorld!

One thing I had always wanted to do was take my kids to DisneyWorld. I grew up on Disney movies, both the live action and the animated classics. Even as an adult, I still love them. One of my all-time favorite movies is Disney’s animated Beauty and the Beast.

In April 2012, we took an extended school spring break vacation and hit the road to DisneyWorld. We drove from our home in Vermont to Orlando, FL, over the course of four days. On the way down, we stopped at Grounds for Sculpture, an amazing outdoor sculpture park, museum, and arboretum in Hamilton, New Jersey. Some of the sculptures scattered over the 42 acre park were incredibly detailed and lifelike.


Contact by Seward Johnson


Eye of the Beholder by Seward Johnson


Were You Invited? by Seward Johnson, based on the painting The Luncheon of the Boating Party by Renoir

Others were more abstract, but just as interesting.


Henry Moore in a Sheep Meadow by Red Grooms

At DisneyWorld, we stayed at the Coronado Springs resort. It had a lovely swimming pool, which we enjoyed very much.


Mayan Ruins themed Lost City of Cibola pool at Coronado Springs

My daughter was a huge fan of the Disney princesses, so we visited as many as we could find.


A conversation with Snow White

The rides were a blast. Well, all but one. No one will ever get me on Everest again. After zipping around at high speed forward and backward, and over stomach-lurching drops in the pitch dark, it was all I could do not to lose my lunch. The kids liked it, though.


The dreaded Everest ride

One of my favorite spots at Disneyworld was the Lego Store in the Marketplace. Right in front of the store stands a towering, jaw-dropping, Lego-brick version of the black dragon Maleficent from Sleeping Beauty blasting fire at Lego Prince Phillip. I have always loved building with Legos and I love dragons, particularly that one. All I could do was stand there and say, “Wow, that is so cool!”


LEGO dragon from Sleeping Beauty in the Disney Marketplace


After we left DisneyWorld, we went to the real LegoLand in Winter Haven, FL, about 45 minutes south of Disney. Talk about mind-boggling creations! I can’t imagine how much fun it must have been to build all those skyscrapers and landmarks and animals and dinosaurs and people — a fantastic collection of Lego masterpieces, though I have to say that, to me, none was as awe-inspiring as that dragon.


New York City skyscrapers, LEGOLAND, FL


Washington, DC, LEGOLAND, FL


Tower Cathedral, LEGOLAND, FL


LEGO Ford Explorer, LEGOLAND, FL













On the way home, we stopped at the NASCAR Hall of Fame in Charlotte, NC. My son’s dream is to be a NASCAR driver, so this was the highlight of the trip for him. He got to see the racecars of some of his favorite drivers and actually sit in a racecar and “drive” in simulated races. He would have kept on driving until the cows came home, as they say, if I’d have let him. But unfortunately, we did have to get back on the road.



My son driving the #16 Racing Sim car.

We all had so much fun on the trip. It was by far the Best. Family. Vacation. Ever!


And now for the Writing Update:

The last couple of weeks have been a little crazy, so I didn’t get much writing time, but I did add another 600 words to my WIP, Trouble Times Three. I’m happy to still be moving forward despite everything. And there’s a three-day weekend coming up. Can’t wait to get back at it!

Anyone else have any bucket list items beginning with D?






© Lori L. MacLaughlin and Writing, Reading, and the Pursuit of Dreams, 2020. All rights reserved.
















IWSG and A to Z Challenge: My Bucket List! – Past, Present, and Future: C is for Caribbean Cruise

Today’s the day for the Insecure Writer’s Support Group (IWSG) where, on the first Wednesday of every month, writers get together to share their insecurities and offer encouragement. The IWSG was created by Alex J. Cavanaugh, and you can learn all about it and sign up for it here.

I don’t really have any new insecurities at the moment, just the usual ones, so I’m going to move on to the IWSG question for this month: Do you have any rituals that you use when you need help getting into the ZONE?

The things that help me to be the most productive are a good night’s sleep and a quiet house. It’s impossible for me to concentrate and think creatively if I have a tired brain or too many distractions that disrupt my focus. Sometimes going outside and either taking a walk or just getting some fresh air helps clear my head if the words aren’t coming as easily as I’d like. Another thing I find helpful is to go back and re-read the last several pages I’ve written or even the previous chapter. Many times, when I get back to where I left off, the way forward becomes clear, and I’m back on track and ready to dive into my characters’ next adventure.

And speaking of adventures, it’s now on to the A to Z Challenge!

I’m taking the long way around with A to Z this year. My plan is to post every couple of weeks, so I will have time to visit other blogs in between and still have time to write.

C is for – Caribbean Cruise

I went on my first and only cruise way back in September of 1988. I always thought it would be a fun thing to do — to sail on the ocean and visit tropical locales like you see in the movies. The first things that struck me when I landed in Miami (besides the heat) were the palm trees. I had never seen real palm trees before, only pictures. That may sound kind of silly, but I found them really interesting.

Things didn’t go quite as planned in the beginning of this adventure. Someone was supposed to meet me at the airport and give me a ride to the ship, the Caribe, where I would then meet up with the tour group I would be traveling with. No one was there, however, so I ended up hopping a bus that took me to the port where the cruise ship was docked. Of course, there were several ships docked there, and, not being able to see the names, I had no idea which was the Caribe, but after stopping and asking a few people for directions, I did find the right ship.


After I made it onboard and got settled in my cabin, I discovered a not-so-fun thing about cruises: ships rocking in the ocean make me seasick. And we hadn’t even left the dock. That prompted a visit to the ship’s doctor who gave me a shot and some motion sickness pills that solved that problem.

Things went much more smoothly after that. Our first stop was in Puerto Plata in the Dominican Republic. It was my first time visiting a developing country. I remember bartering with one of the natives for an amber necklace and bracelet. The differences in the way of life between the people there and where I live were both eye-opening and sobering and made me think about how many things in my world I took for granted. We visited a market place, took a scenic drive past sugar cane fields, and spent some time on a lovely beach.


Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic


Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic


Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic

Our second stop was in San Juan, Puerto Rico. We took a tour through the city and saw the capitol building and some other places. Some of the city’s streets have the unique feature of being paved with blue cobblestones. Apparently, when the Spanish sailed across the Atlantic to the West Indies looking for gold in the 1700s, they brought the blue cobblestones with them as ballast in their ships. They left the cobblestones behind when they took the gold back to Spain, and the people of San Juan used the cobblestones to pave their streets. A few of the original cobblestones still exist. There’s a legend that says if you stop to listen, you can hear the footsteps of the Spanish soldiers who once walked the streets.


San Juan, Puerto Rico


San Juan, Puerto Rico


Capitol Building, San Juan, Puerto Rico


If you look really closely, you can see the blue cobblestones through the bus window on the right.

We also visited Castillo San Felipe Del Morro, a citadel built by the Spanish between the 16th and 18th centuries to protect the entrance to San Juan Bay against seafaring enemies. The citadel was used as a military base by the US during World War I and II.


San Felipe Del Morro, San Juan, Puerto Rico


San Felipe Del Morro, San Juan, Puerto Rico


San Felipe Del Morro, San Juan, Puerto Rico


View from San Felipe Del Morro, San Juan, Puerto Rico

From there, it was on to St. Thomas in the Virgin Islands, the land of amazing beaches. We took another scenic tour, shopped in the shopping district, and enjoyed the white sands and gorgeous turquoise water.


Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas, Virgin Islands. My ship, the Caribe, is the little ship behind the huge Sovereign of the Seas in the bay on the left. The Norway is the ship farther out to sea.


Megan’s Bay, St. Thomas, Virgin Islands


Bolongo Bay, St. Thomas, Virgin Islands

The flight home was uneventful, thankfully. The Caribbean cruise was quite an experience, but I have to say that once was enough for me. I have no desire for any more ocean excursions.

And now for the Writing Update:

I added another 1,000 words to my WIP, Trouble Times Three, since my last A to Z post. Feels like a turtle pace, but at least it’s moving forward.

Anyone else have any bucket list items beginning with C?





© Lori L. MacLaughlin and Writing, Reading, and the Pursuit of Dreams, 2020. All rights reserved.