Christmas Town may not open until this weekend, but I got to take a tour of all the new, magical things to see, so that I can tell you- it’s not to be missed!
This is the 10th year of Christmas Town here in Virginia, and Busch Gardens always does an amazing job of thinking about how to outdo themselves each and every year- this year being no exception.
Ten years and ten MILLION lights later (actually, a little more than that this year if we want to get really technical), if you love, or even like Christmas- this is the place you’re going to want to be, and admission is now INCLUDED in your pass membership for the first time.
Me and a group of bloggers and media were ushered into the park one dreary Friday morning, and were instantly greeted by a group of the most cheerful elves, Christmas music, and a park being transformed into a winter wonderland.
They were finishing up decorating the O’ Tanenbaum Tree, found in the center of Germany, which is always one of my favorite sites in the park
From there, we were ushered in to the Fest Haus to hear from the park president about all the new things the 10th anniversary of Christmas Town- and there’s a lot to share with you! BUT FIRST
MERMAID TAIL STOCKINGS? Yeah… I know what I’m getting next time I go to Christmas Town, along with some signature hot chocolate.
Up next was the tour of Santa’s Workshop- which is honestly amazing, no matter your kids (or your) ages. It’s beautifully decorated, and we even had special guests stop by
Mrs. Claus served us the breakfast of champions: Hot Chocolate and a GIANT Smore (both of which can be purchased in the park, and I highly recommend. Unfortunately, Mrs. Claus will be tending to Christmas duties, but the Busch Gardens employees can certainly handle the task!)
It was so good. If that doesn’t get you into the Christmas Spirit, nothing will!
Now let me tell you about what’s NEW this year at Christmas Town!
Christmas Town Express – The familiar Choo Choo of the Busch Gardens Railway will signal an unparalleled experience around the world’s most beautiful theme park. Park guests can sing along to favorite holiday songs while enjoying the lighted decorations along the park’s popular train route. The experience will feature festive caroling, two million stunning Christmas lights and themed holiday vignettes meticulously placed around the 1.5-mile tour.
Wilkommenhaus – Located in the park’s German village, the Wilkommenhaus transforms into a fantastic visual Christmas spectacle through beautiful projection mapping. The sweet smell of Christmas treats from the Cookies & Cocoa Shop wafts through the air as virtual gingerbread men make this festive village come to life nightly, every 15-minutes during Christmas Town.
Sesame Street® holiday show: Elmo’s Christmas Wish – Elmo’s Christmas Wish debuts this year on the stage at Sesame Street® Forest of Fun™. Guests can enjoy this holiday musical show with Rosita, Grover, Zoe and Cookie Monster as they help Elmo find his Christmas wish.
Battle For Eire™ – The innovative virtual reality attraction joins an exciting lineup of rides that also includes roller coasters InvadR™ and Verbolten®.
Not to mention the classics, like Santa’s Workshop, the wonderful live shows around the park including Twas that Night, headlined by Olympic figure skater Elvis Stojko, meet and greets with characters from the classic Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer, all kinds of delicious holiday food, and THE LIGHTS! Don’t forget about the lights!
Busch Gardens is open 2 – 10 p.m. on most Christmas Town operating days and
12 – 10 p.m. on Saturdays from Nov. 17 through Jan. 5. For more information about Christmas Town and operating days, visit www.christmastown.com/va.
The best way to enjoy Christmas Town and other park events and attractions all year long is through the newly-enhanced Busch Gardens Williamsburg Membership Program. Guests can receive unlimited visits to Busch Gardens, Howl-O-Scream and Christmas Town for as little as $9.99 per month. For more information, visit www.buschgardens.com/joinBGW.
Hard to believe that this Halloween marked my SIXTH dressing up as Disney Princesses….and subsequently killing them off. This year I didn’t get to be one of my favorites, which just made the kill that much more enjoyable, and I still have so many left to go!
It’s no secret that I LOVE the Disney Princesses. A lot. As I type this, I’m wearing a Snow White t-shirt. Artwork featuring them decorates the walls of my house. I have an entire shelf in my closet dedicated to my Disney clothing- there’s that much. I sing Disney songs all day, and even when people try to bash the princesses for being bad role models, I’m the first to snort laugh and explain exactly why they’re awesome. Even with a
freakish obsession love as strong as mine, I still have a sense of humor, which is why when Halloween comes around every year- I don’t do the whole “sexy” princess thing to show my love, with the stupid tutu skirt and cleavage hanging out (as if I have any anyway). I kill them. I kill their happy endings. I ruin precious Disney dreams everywhere. WHY?! Well, why not?? Disney has a dark side, and a sense of humor- and the original fairy tales these stories came from don’t usually have a happy ending anyway, so why not twist it all up for one night a year and have some fun with it? Luckily, I haven’t sent any kids screaming in the other direction just yet, but I’m only 6 princesses in, and I’m adding to this each year (so come back after Halloween to see how I knock off the next poor unfortunate soul!) *Please note- I am NOT a professional makeup artist. This is all amateur at-home do-it-yourself attempts, but I’m pretty proud of the results!
Dreams of more than a provincial life, and ever the optimist, thought she had found that with Beast, for Belle always sees the beauty within people- and that is the real “beauty” in Beauty & the Beast. BUT- what if? What IF Belle was wrong? What if Beast never changed? What if the Beast was just…. a beast? I mean, he DID tell her to stay out the West Wing. Homegirl just couldn’t listen, and that is where she met her true fate.
Such a shame! The yellow gown I actually found at a thrift store last second for something like two bucks, so I smashed it into the dirt, splattered it with fake blood, and tossed it on. The deep facial slashes were created with glue and toilet paper, if you can believe it!
While everyone else was going Elsa crazy, I decided to dress up as Anna. And then kill her. My love runs that deep. Anna of Arendelle is smart, plucky, and completely ordinary- at least, according to her, and that made me like her even more.
But… WHAT IF? What if, when Elsa struck her in the heart with her icy powers, and the trolls told her “An act of true love” would melt a Frozen heart…. what if it flat out didn’t work?
Frozen. Frickin’. Solid. Oh, and Olaf didn’t make it, either.
This look was easily created with white cream makeup mixed with blue eyeshadow, thick layers of cream makeup in my eyelashes and eyebrows, and swirls of darker blue and white
The defiant youngest daughter of King Triton who had dreams that reached beyond possibility, yet still, she never gave up on them. Despite Sebastian’s warnings, she was still desperate to be where the people were, to have legs of her own. To walk. To dance.
What poor, unfortunate fate could befall upon our favorite mermaid friend?
WHAT IF? What if, when Ariel found out Ursula had tricked her, and had put Eric under a spell- when she jumped into the ocean to swim after his boat and stop the wedding, she never made it? Ariel may have always wanted legs, but she never learned to use them to swim. WHAT IF she sank to the bottom of the ocean to decay, never getting to Prince Eric in time to save him from marrying Ursula? There would be no happily ever after. Instead, there would be this
Are those barnacles on her face? Why yes. Yes they are. Along with scales- because magic can only go so far- and not only did Ariel rot on the ocean floor, but she changed back into a mermaid as well.
The look seems complicated (or so I’m told) but it was easy! We created the barnacles over the course of a few days using two things: liquid latex, and CHEERIOS! Yes, Cheerios! I found the easiest to use were the ones already stuck together in the box, and then dripping the latex over them, some in individual stacks, and some in clusters
Once they were stuck in place using a little more liquid latex, I used eyeshadow for a metallic look, and cream-based white paint to paint the barnacles to give them a crusty look I also drew on the scales one by one and filled them with some white paint and metallic eyeshadows in different shades of green, blue, and a little purple. Here’s a close up (after trick or treating and dinner- so there’s some wear & tear)
I. frickin’. love. Rapunzel. It’s the movie that got me back into Disney as an adult. She’s creative, funny, goofy, a little clumsy, brave, and resilient– even after being locked in a tower her entire life by Mother Gothel–she isn’t bitter.
A woman who knows what she wants and will not stop until she gets it, even if it means chartering into dangerous territory. She always tries to see the best in people, maybe when they might not deserve it, because she knows there is good in everyone.
A princess after my own heart
But… WHAT IF? In Disney’s Tangled, Rapunzel meets a thief named Flynn, who comes to be not only someone she cares for, but someone who could come back to save her from Mother Gothel once he found out that she is the lost princess, and Mother Gothel isn’t her mother at all, but an evil witch who kidnapped Rapunzel as a baby to keep her powers all for herself. What if, when Flynn enters back into the tower, only to be stabbed by Mother Gothel, instead of making the ultimate sacrifice for her by cutting of Rapunzel’s locks before she can use them to heal him, thereby freeing her from Mother Gothel forever, he missed, slashing her throat instead?
This deep slash would cause Rapunzel to quickly bleed out and die, leaving her unable to save Flynn with her hair, nor her tears (as she did in the movie).
They die just minutes apart, and Mother Gothel shrivels away to nothing. No one lives happily ever after.
This look was easy, yet frustratingly difficult to achieve! First, I started with face makeup–covering my face in a layer of grayish white face paint and setting it with translucent powder, and then darkening my lids, the places where dark circles naturally appear, and right around my nose with a mix of gray and purple and a little red. I also used bronzer with gray eyeshadow layered over it to hollow out my cheeks and nose. This gave my face the appearance of having zero life to it (I also call it the “tired mom”)
For the gaping neck wound, I went the Belle route and used a mix of toilet paper and regular ol’ Elmer’s glue to create the effects. Super sexy.
I used a “wound” kit I got from Spirit Halloween to bloody and bruise up the cut and surrounding area and then foundation to blend it into my skin. Was more difficult than Belle because the neck moves much more!
And now for the 2017 reveal!
We all know the story of Jasmine. A lonely princess locked away “for her protection” who longs to see more, to do more, to be more. She hates the thought of being tied down, of having to settle for ANYTHING, and bucks against tradition and what is expected of her at every chance.
Hard not to relate!
She sneaks into the marketplace where she luckily bumps into the “street rat” Aladdin, who, with his quick thinking, saves her from the palace guards. But really, she ends up saving him.
“Unhand him, by order of the princess!”
She’s strong-willed. She’s confident. She knows what she wants. She’s basically a bad-ass. And of course, she gets the Happily Ever After she deserves after she, Aladdin, Genie, and Abu defeat Jafar and take back the kingdom.
BUT WHAT IF…
When Jasmine walked into the marketplace to see what “normal” life was like and got caught “stealing” an apple- Aladdin doesn’t jump in to save her. He’s nowhere to be found.
Instead, as punishment, Jasmine has one hand chopped off and is sent to the dungeons.
With Jasmine out of the way, Jafar easily takes the throne for her father, the Sultan, and rules over Agrabah.
Despite all her screams for help, Jasmine is left to rot away in the dungeon until she starves to death. Alone.
Only Jafar lives happily ever after.
Let’s take a look at the makeup more closely:
When it came to killing off Jasmine, I had to really think about what being locked away in a dungeon would do to her. Not only would she lose color and volume from her face, but her lips would dry out and crack due to lack of water. I wanted to make sure to keep her signature winged eyeliner, but to make it realistic, made it run down her cheeks from tears- probably the last water she’d ever get.
I started by using a few layers of pale foundation and did the dramatic wings and signature thick eyebrows (if only I could keep those year round!) Then, I started putting gray under the cheekbones, into my collarbone and neck to make the bones really pop (just in case it showed!), and used burgundy, greens, and yellows around the eyes, mouth, and nose to make the bruising look realistic.
To create dried, cracked lips, I spread a layer of liquid latex over my lips, waited until it was almost dry, and moved my mouth around to naturally rip it up. To really intensify the effect, I took eyebrow scissors and tweezers and pulled apart the cracks, creating holes and big chunks missing. I then took different color red cream paints and lipsticks and painted in the holes and cracks to give them depth. (Ignore the liquid latex on the cheek–that look did not work so I removed it).
For the tears you see in photos above- I actually used activated charcoal (used for tooth whitening) and mixed it with water and let it drip down my face naturally.
BAM! Dead Jasmine
When you get the WHOLE family to theme with you
The original Disney Princess. The Fairest of them all, so fair an Evil Queen tried to kill her in many different ways to get rid of her so she can claim that title. Talk about vain. When the Huntsman the Evil Queen hires to cut out Snow White’s Heart and bring it back to her in a box fails, she takes matters into her own hands- poisoning an apple that Snow White bites and falls into a sleep like death… until Prince Charming kisses her, and wakes her up (while all the woodland creatures and Dwarves cry tears of joy).
BUT WHAT IF…
When the Evil Queen sends the Huntsman to bring back Snow White’s heart in a box, he doesn’t chicken out? What if Snow White never even got a chance to take a single bite of that poison apple, because she was already lying dead on the forest floor- heart torn from her chest by the Huntsman’s Axe?
Who’s the fairest of them all? The Evil Queen.
Let’s talk makeup- a lot of people were asking on social media how the hell I did it.
To be totally honest, Snow White is my LEAST favorite Disney Princess, so… I was more than a little excited to off her, and there were so many ways to do it. The most overdone, I think, is poisoning her with the apple. I wanted to make sure to do something I hadn’t seen before. Animal mauling? Eaten by starving Dwarves? But what really sounded the best was having the Huntsman complete his task. It was a big undertaking, a lot of area to cover, and easy to get wrong, but also a pretty simple process: Toilet paper and liquid latex.
Paint on the latex, layer TP, more latex, more TP, until I figured I had a thick enough fake “skin”.
It took a long time, and quite a bit of blowdrying- can’t you tell I was enjoying the process?
Once it was set enough to proceed, I put foundation over the entire piece matching my face color (which is a far paler foundation than I use from day to day- they don’t call her SNOW White for nothing), and then set with powder.
I then took scissors, and cut a hole directly in the center, and ripped the latex up and down to look like an axe had hit Snow directly in the chest. I used creme based black paint and painted all of the skin underneath, dark red for the inside of the “skin”
Yes, I also cut down the costume- the axe doesn’t magically miss the clothes! I also used bruise colors, and deep red, and blotted it all over my chest to give it bruising, and to blend the edges into my skin (since I’m not a pro, they weren’t the best)
After getting the wig and signature Snow White red lipstick on, I took liquid blood, poured it into my hands, and flicked it onto my face and chest to simulate blood spatter, and painted more into the wound to make it look really goopy and to give it depth.
Me and my Hunstman (the kid couldn’t decide on a costume so I said- WELL THEN, YOU’RE THEMEING WITH ME)
I’m REALLY happy with how this one came out- all the hard work paid off (but my skin was not a fan of the latex).
What do you think? Which is your favorite princess kill?? Who do you think NEXT year’s princess will be?
Yes, I already know. I AM PREPARED!
This blog was written in partnership with the EZ Dis Travel Agency. All opinions are truthful and my own.
I’ve always got Disney on the brain- From my Halloween costume (hard to believe is only a few days away) to how I’ve always wanted to go to Disney for Christmas. I don’t have a bucket list, but if I did, that would be toward the top.
Never have I ever been a huge fan of Christmas. It just always seems like I’m sick, or something big goes wrong- but Disney is so dang magical that I think it could even make my least favorite holiday amazing.
From all of the festive decorations all over the parks, and the decorated trees (and the SHOPPING)
To the holiday parade
To Cinderella’s castle being decked out for the season
Characters in their holiday costumes
The INSANE gingerbread displays at the Disney resorts
Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party
There is SO much to see, and I can’t wait to do it, but I know it’s going to take time and dedication to make it happen- not just monetarily (you’d be surprised how well you can budget for a Disney trip, but it does take effort) but to PLAN.
As I always say, it’s never too early, OR too late to start planning your next Disney adventure. And while some people might love planning, many people find the stress of all the little details (and there are a ton when it comes to Disney) overwhelming, but you don’t have to go it alone. Grab an expert, FOR FREE, from EzDis. Use the code HH18!
They can help your Disney dreams, no matter what time of year it is, come true. From booking your resort and ride times, to your food reservations– whatever you might need, they’ve got you covered.
Sit back, relax, and enjoy!
OH, and enter this giveaway! Just in time for the holidays, no matter WHERE you spend it (though I hope it’s at Disney!)
Comment below with your FAVORITE thing to do on Christmas for your chance to win FOUR Mickey Santa hats like this one!
Perfect to wear in the parks, or just around the house! Entry period is from 8:30pm Eastern on 10/26 – 8:30pm on 10/30. Winner must respond to the email notifying them their name has been drawn within 48 hours– so make sure you leave a comment with an e-mail address.
Good luck, and happy booking!
Before I even had kids, I know I was never going to fit into the cookie-cutter, Hallmark greeting card, Pampers commercial type mom. It just didn’t seem to fit who I was, or who I wanted to be. Unfortunately, the pressure of being the “best” mom can get to you, and you find yourself trying to be all of these things you aren’t, because if you don’t, people judge. And they judge a lot. Think about the meanest, judgiest girl in highschool- the one that made fun of you if you wore your hair in a ponytail twice in a week– we’re talking Regina George level asshattery here. Now give her a baby.
It’s just as bad as you’re imagining. Maybe worse.
It didn’t last long for me to stop trying to force myself into a mold I’d never fit into (much like my skinny jeans from before I had kids). That’s not to say it was easy. It’s tough to give up on everything everyone wants you to be, to know that from that point on, you’re going to have people disagreeing and shitting on every single decision you make because it doesn’t line up with theirs- but it comes down to happiness. Yours and your kids.
My happiness has always started with allowing myself to be myself. As easy as that sounds, I think we all know it isn’t. Especially since who I truly feel like is authentically me is way out there.
I’m loud. I overshare because I don’t really believe in TMI. If a kid is being an asshole, I call them on it. I don’t censor myself in front of my own kids because I don’t think curse words are that fucking serious. I don’t sugar coat anything. All of those things I can generally keep under wraps if I’m in a PTA type situation (of which I still refuse to join out of principal. YOU’LL NEVER TAKE ME ALIVE, COPPERS!) because I have learned to read my audience over the years- but my personality and my brain aren’t the only things that make me up. I also decorate my outside the way I see fit.
I love having crazy ass hair, I collect tattoos like people collect shells at the beach. I wear whatever the fuck I want, whenever I want, which GASP sometimes includes a bra showing. Or a shoulder. Or enough thigh to where I get “the look” (doesn’t matter than I’m 90% legs)- and if you’ve ever not dressed for the age older folks think you should dress for, you know the look. The judgy one. The one that says “what is wrong with her?” The one that says “I feel sorry for her kids.” The one that ultimately boils down to judging what kind of parent you are simply by how you look. They don’t even get to know your personality before making the call that you must be a trashcan of a parent.
Yes, I knew this would happen. I know I don’t look like a mom “should” according to some people, and I thought I was prepared for it, because once I adorned myself how I saw fit and became comfortable in my skin enough to dress the way I wanted and feel free, I accepted it wouldn’t be everyone’s cup of tea. As prepared as you think you are, sometimes those looks can still sting. People don’t give chances anymore, it seems. It’s all knee-jerk reactions and assumptions. That’s when this little voice pops up in the back of my head whispering that maybe I should consider my kids more in how I look. Maybe I should think about how people might treat them because they have the “weird” mom. At this moment, I stop, and smack myself in the face.
If I were to fold based on other people’s pre-conceived notions they have of the kind of person/parent I am based upon how I look, what would that be teaching my kids? I want my kids to always march to the beat of their own drum. To love what they want to fucking love. To enjoy whatever the hell they want, no matter of people tell them it’s not “right”. I want them to be confident in their choices, to explore life, to never let someone else ruin how THEY feel in their own skin- and if I did that, I’d ruin that for them.
So I’m gonna keep fucking being weird. I’m keeping my potty mouth, I’m recoloring my hair, I’m finishing my sleeve, and I’m telling my kids that I do it because I want to, it makes ME happy, and that is what matters.
This time of year is the hardest, I think, for parents. Not only are you still trying to get back into the swing of the back to school routine, but you’re also having to gear up for 3 months of holidays barreling at you like a freight train.
Halloween costumes, Thanksgiving prep, Christmas lists are all suddenly in play, meanwhile, a barrage of pamphlets and forms are coming home from school. Fundraisers, PTA meetings, back to school nights, homework guides, clubs and after school activities, picture days, and a whole slew of other things that you honestly weren’t prepared for when you already have so much on your plate at all times.
Overwhelmed is an understatement.
You want to let your kid do all the things they want, because… well, as a parent it feels like your job to let them have a childhood, explore their interests– even if it means paying a stupid amount of money only to have them fucking hate it and drop out after you’ve sold a kidney on the black market to fund the season. You want to give them experiences, fun and educational. You want them to have “the childhood you didn’t”- even if yours was great, you ALWAYS want theirs to be better. It’s natural.
And then come the responsibilities. The obligations. The bullshit adulting throws at you that you can’t avoid. Work, bills, house maintenance, cooking, grocery shopping, other random errands, deadlines. By the time you get done doing everything you HAVE to do to keep your kids fed with a roof over their head, there’s not a lot of time for the extra-curriculars, and you find yourself wearing incredibly thin. You’re tired. You’re irritable. And if all of that weren’t enough, in creeps the guilt. You’re not spending enough time with the kids, they aren’t doing enough after school, their childhood is being wasted- and YOU? You haven’t gone out in forever. “Me time” barely exists, and when you do take it, even though you know damn well you deserve it, something else gets pushed farther behind. Sleep is limited, sleeping in is non-existent, and every now and then you wonder- who the hell are you? Are you being a good parent? Are your kids going to grow up to resent you and their childhood?
All of these things lead to dark unhappiness- and I’ve learned a lot lately about what being “happy” really is, and it’s not always striving to be a “good” parent. I’ve been so busy trying to do everything for everyone lately, while also dealing with my own shit, that I sent myself into a tailspin I couldn’t see happening until I’d smacked face first into the ground. And the harder I tried to push, the more burned out and pained and stressed I got, the more miserable everyone was. It was a domino effect I’m still learning to accept happens even eleven years into being a mom.
Being a good parent, a good mom, a good dad, doesn’t start with giving everyone everything they want all the time. It starts with you, taking care of yourself, making sure you’re healthy, and happy. You can’t really take care of anyone else the way you want to if you aren’t taking care of yourself first. Remember that.
I've been wanting to tweet lately in support of how AWESOME y'all have been despite my audio issues. AND I think we have it fixed! Let's see.... Live now on #twitch playing #deadbydaylight twitch.tv/holdinholden
Planning for the Holidays at Disney (AND a Giveaway!) goo.gl/fb/7jE77C
@Chelsea_momma I know them feels
@turb0z See also: Booger bulbing (way back in the baby/toddler years)
What I say: Your hair is a mess. I'm gonna help you brush it What my kids hear: Although you've never actually been injured any of the previous 1,000 times I've brushed your hair, this is it. You're definitely gonna die this time. Please proceed to scream at the top of your lungs
@firebirdblog With Disney I got lucky, we're all massive Disnerds. Other movies have not gone so well, though.
@firebirdblog Trust me when I say I will dropkick a fellow 30-something if they come near me with that 😂 I'm taking my kids to enjoy with me, although I am sure I will enjoy more. End of the day- they are kids movies. You don't want kids in them, go to a late showing. ez