Thursday, October 10, 2013

Sitting with Grandmother Willow: Elizabeth A. Breakey

As part of our on-going series, Sitting with Grandmother Willow, I am happy to introduce Elizabeth A. Breakey, of Breakeble Designs, an Etsy shop. This series of blog posts highlights artists and bloggers of all stripes with one thing in common: a passion for Disney! I hope you will enjoy getting to know Elizabeth as much as I have. And be sure to visit her Etsy store for some unique Disney themed items!

Disney by the numbers (with apologies to Harpers):

# of trips you have made:
Oh Lord. Ha, okay – I have no idea. I have been at the very least once a year since I was 3 and I am 30 now.

Date of first trip:
My parents had a tradition of taking their kids (I’m the youngest of 4) on their first trip to Disney World when they turned 3. So 1986.

Date of next trip:
A few friends and I will be headed down to the MNSSHP and Food and Wine festival at the end of October. I can’t wait! It will be hard though, it will be the first trip down since my father passed away… He loved the parks so much…

# of Resorts stayed in:
We grew up a middle-class family – so going to the parks alone was a really big deal and we always stayed off property. Now that we are older, we stay on property, and it’s still the biggest treat! I have stayed at 3 resorts, all value. I love the value resorts, and although a stay at the Polynesian would be nice, the reality is I would much rather spend that money in the parks, than on a bed…

Usual # in your travel party:
It really varies, but I do love to go with the whole family… The last big family trip had 14 of us.

Pairs of mouse ears in your cottage: 
I have two. My very first that proudly has “Beth Anne” stitched on the back, which I have framed and on my wall, and a pair of sparkly Minnie ears that I tend to wear in the park nowadays!

WDW or Disneyland (or other)?
Although I love Disneyland, and can’t wait to go back – Walt Disney World is home. Some of my best childhood memories center around it, especially the Magic Kingdom.

How do you usually travel to Disney?
So there is a back story here. My father worked in aviation and as his family, we had the awesome privilege of flying for free. It was a great thing and we got to travel to so many fantastic places… But we had one rule as a family. We would only ever drive to Disney World. It’s 10 hours from our house and it was always half the fun of the trip. I remember one Christmas trip my mother made us all our own special car pillows for the trip… We always played games, tormented each other and drove our parents crazy, but it was a blast!

Do you have any tips for trips?
SO many. But here are a few… If you have kids, stop by the Character Warehouse and Character Premiere before you start your trip (in Orlando and St Augustine)… These are outlet stores for the Disney Parks and have the BEST deals on souvenirs. So if you are trying to budget, stop by, pick up some awesome stuff at at least half the cost of in park, and give them to your kids during your trip. As an adult with no kids though, I stop by on our final day and stock up on all my Disney Parks souvenirs...

Another favorite… If you, or someone in your party is active duty military or a veteran – this one is for you! Every day in the Magic Kingdom, one veteran is chosen to lower the flag on Main Street at the end of the day. To do this, all you have to do is be the FIRST person in Town Hall to request it. When I say first, I mean when the rope drops, do not pass go, do not collect $200 – go straight there and say out loud “I have a vet who wants to the lower the flag.” As long as you’re the first to ask, then it goes to you! The ceremony is beautiful, the Dapper Dans sing, there is a little parade your family gets to participate in, and you get a free photo of your family and certificate.

Do you have a favorite place to eat while in Disney?
I have a few favorite spots. I love Tony’s Town Square. I know it’s not the best Italian food you have ever had, but it is good. The real reason I love it, is when you are sitting on the porch, slowly enjoying your meal and people watching on Main Street. When you just stop and enjoy the moment, it’s the best place to be! With that being said – grabbing a Pineapple/Orange Swirl Dolewhip Float and people watching in Adventureland is also pretty darn good. But probably the best food (in my opinion) is Via Napoli. The pizza. Oh my God, the pizza.

What is your absolute DON'T MISS attraction?
I would of course say Haunted Mansion, because it’s my favorite – but really, it’s Carousel of Progress. When my mother was just a girl in 1964, her family went to the New York World’s Fair. As we now know, Disney was using this as a “test run” for an east coast Disneyland… He had four attractions, but the one my mother remembers the most is non-other than Carousel of Progress. So our family loves it… We think it is “ours”. Actually, I have “Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow” as my ringtone on my phone right now!

Stage shows, yes or no?
Yes, obviously. Although I miss when Disney Parks used to have a different “musical” every time a new animated feature came out. My favorites to this day are Pocahontas and Hunchback. To me, Beauty and the Beast is getting tired… Let’s bring new shows back on that stage!

Parades, yes or no?
YES! The nighttime parades are my favorite. Although I love Spectro, the Electrical Parade is still my favorite.

Best Fast Pass to get:
Toy Story Mania. Get it fast. You do NOT want to wait in that line. Runner up – Soarin.

Favorite park:
I will always be a Magic Kingdom girl.

One piece of advice you'd give a novice about WDW/DL:
Just remember to enjoy it, especially if you have kids… This is magic. WDW is spectacular, special, full of wonder and perfect. I know you are hot. I know there are lots of lines. I know things are expensive. But stop before you complain. Stop yourself before you mumble under your breath because someone hit you with their stroller. Stop and look at your child’s face – because seriously… This place is sacred, and your time spent there with them is the most magical moments of their lives and yours.

How do you create extra magic for your family?
We have so many things – we always make fun things to bring with us for the kiddos, but probably our biggest family tradition is the “surprise trip”. As kids, I can’t even count the times our parents surprised us with a Disney trip. One Christmas they had a whole scavenger hunt in the house that morning that led to a video tape that said we were leaving for Disney World in the morning. Another time we had a big snow and school was cancelled. So what did my parents do? Piled us in the car for an impromptu Disney trip. My siblings all have children – they have all done the same magical things to their kids – and I can’t wait until I can too!

I started Breakeble Designs in March of 2012. I love to create things, especially for other people… My sister was going through a difficult time and I wanted to do something sweet for her on Valentine’s Day. So I took some old Disney Maps I had lying around and I made her some coasters. A few days later I posted the pics on facebook of her present and had SO many responses of people wanting to me to make them a set! So I created a few more, put them up on Etsy and they sold within hours. From then on it has been a steady stream of orders. I opened to more than just Disney – but still try to focus on my first love. Later I added jewelry to the mix and very soon I will be adding some really awesome magnets! As for the name, I put a plea out on facebook before creating my store for some ideas… My cousin came up with the play on my last name, Breakey. I love it, although I do get the occasional Etsy message letting me know I spelled “Breakable” wrong. LOL

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