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it's not about the destination, it's about the journey (and cupcakes...)

Before we left Disney, I had some last play in the park days.My mom and I had spent some time in Animal Kingdom, riding the safari, meeting Pocahontas, and Dug and Russell. 

When Mike and I went to Epcot, we had to check out the new Soarin' Around the World and the new Frozen ride. The Frozen ride is awesome and one of the best rides at Disney World now technologically, however, we got stuck on it and had to listen to "For the First Time in Forever" on repeat for about 7 minutes straight. 

Also, while eating dinner at Epcot, a group of training cast members were looking to sing happy birthday to someone, and since no one else was around and we were celebrating NYC, they decided to sing to me instead. But hey, we got free red velvet cake out of it! #DisneyMagic

Then we headed to Magic Kingdom and Princess Fairytale Hall to say farewell to some of the princesses.

We had also gone to Magic Kingdom for one last Wishes (fireworks) and had dinner at Crystal Palace with Winnie the Pooh and friends.

 Our very last ride ever at Magic Kingdom was Small World, which we felt fitting, especially because it said goodbye to us at the end. 

 Mikes final day as a wilderness explorer was great and I got to visit him doing his thing with his last couple of guests. His very last little kid told him the reason he wore his dinosaur shirt was because he wanted to be explorer just like Mike when he was older. It was extremely precious.

My final swim with Ariel began as just any other day swimming at the grotto, but she was lucky to swim with some of my friends as well as the sweetest little 2 year old girl from Scotland for her final guest of the day. 

The absolute last fishies she got to see were my mom and Mike. 

Mike read Ariel a poem about how she fell in love under the sea, however, it was time to go ashore and even brought her her first pair of human shoes.

It was very special for Ariel to say bye to these humans and she was sad to swim off.

Ariel, thanks so much for letting me be Part of Your World...

I also will miss some of my other fishy friends from Orlando. We celebrated my last day in Florida with some hang out time at Disney Springs Hanger.

The day Mike and I packed up and left Orlando, we had a big celebration at my moms house. After about six years, three schools,f our majors, and a whole lot of money later, I am officially a college graduate! I finished my Bachelor's Degree in General Studies with an emphasis in marketing and psychology from Baker College. 

(Ariel wanted to celebrate this FINtastic news with me too!)
I am also super excited that I am exiting college with no student loans and everything fully paid off, all on my own. We celebrated with some yummy dinner and of course a special Karen's cake, made by my mom.  

The celebration was complete with a surprise mock graduation ceremony, where I got to wear my mom's graduation cap and gown from the 70s. Ailey, Etta, and my mom presented me with my diploma, as well as a special rap to the tune of Hamilton (haha).

It was finally time to load up the car and say see you later to everyone. Etta tried to come with us to NYC, but there was no room to fit me then .

bye orlando <3
Starting off our roadtrip, we drove to South Carolina to stay the night with my Uncle Jeff, Aunt Linda, and cousins. We stayed the night with them, had a lovely breakfast, and hung out for a bit, before Mike and I had to get back on the road to head to Congaree National Park. Mike has been to 20+ national parks, so he was very excited to see some of the trees and nature there. It was super hot and humid but it was beautiful.

skink! (these things were everywhere)

the tree 'knees"

After our exploration, we drove 6 hours toward Virginia to stay the night at a cabin at a KOA. 
Next stop was Shenandoah National Park in Virginia nearby our KOA (where Mike was realllllly excited...)

This park is a three hour drive from South to North along Skyline Drive where you can stop at some outlook spots along the way.

my second national park! woo!

After Virginia, we drove through North Carolina, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, finally into Ohio to reach Cincinnati to see my grandma and some of the rest of my extended family. We also had to take Mike to experience Skyline Chili and United Dairy Farmers peanut butter chip milkshakes, and they did not disappoint. 

 I also got to spend lots of time with my grandma, where of course we used our time valuably and I taught her about the wonders of Snapchat.

From Cincinnati we are journeying on to Brockport, NY to see Mike's family for two weeks. We are heading up to the Adirondack Mountains for 4th of July weekend to camp and hang out with his family before heading to NYC around July 20. We have had lots of time in the car lately (and to watch "Making of a Murder" on Netflix) so it will be nice to be in one location for a bit. 

Thanks Disney for all the memories....

peace (Tokyo)

Adventure (Hong Kong)

Love (Orlando)
and Mickey Mouse (California)

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