Ringing in 2016 with a Redbox surprise

Many of you have sent this thoughtful "joy ride" idea my way, so I implemented it with a twist - a treat for now and later! For all you Disney fans, today marks 10 years since Disney acquired Pixar Animation Studios, thus the selection of "Inside Out".

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Season's Greetings for Santa

Santa Claus and Mrs. Claus come to town every night, from November-Dec. 25, in the storybook town of Celebration, FL. Decided it was time to pour a little thanks their way - don't worry, I included enough for the reindeer too!

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Caring for the caretakers

Caring for the caretakers is critical. Brought cinnamon rolls to the Disney Internships and Programs Service Center team, who care for students from across the globe while they're interning at the Walt Disney World Resort. In light of recent world events, they're extending warmth, a listening ear and encouragement even more than usual.

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Words of encouragement for the attractions hostess

Observed a hostile interaction, while in line at Disney California Adventure, between a mother and an attractions hostess. The mother was unhappy with safety precautions that were taken, to ensure her son met height requirements, and she spoke loudly and harshly toward the young hostess - the interaction could be heard from a distance.

Unsure how to best help, I wrote a quick note of encouragement, and affirmed the young lady's worth and diligence when the line wrapped around to her station. The small gesture was met with tears, and upon boarding the attraction a token of thanks: a front-of-the-line pass.

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Spooky-good treats for Moffitt Cancer Center

In the spirit of Pinktober, I wanted to celebrate the hands and hearts that diligently fight the battle against cancer in our community. So - fall treats were in order for the Friday night team at Moffitt Cancer Center. As every Midwestern girl knows, you can't go wrong with apple cider.

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Mid-day munchies for USPS

Today was a banner day - I made a big move and purchased a PO box for future "joy ride" plans. While I was there, I decided to bring a mid-day snack for the team that works so hard to connect its worldwide audience. With a busy mail season swiftly approaching, I wanted to ensure they were appreciated today.

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Holiday joy ride to honor Beach Patrol

Labor Day weekend is often spent at the beach, when you're a Floridian. Busy beaches = long days for Beach Patrol. Sparked a smile with some beach essentials for this well-deserving group this week. P.S. I also attended church on the beach, and it was awesome.

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New surroundings: Dropping by the pawn shop

I can honestly say I've never set foot in a pawn shop. And for the past few weeks, I've felt this little tug to visit one for a "joy ride". Today, it happened. 

The shop was busy, and not exactly what I pictured, and I wasn't sure if I should approach a counter or look around, but my thoughts were interrupted by a man with a heavy accent who wanted to know if I needed help. 

I explained my business, and he reacted with pure shock. "No way," he said. "You're here just for us? You don't know anyone?" I smiled, and affirmed that I was indeed a stranger. He offered up a handshake and proudly showed me around. Sure glad I listened to that little tug. 

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Making magic for a magic-maker

Magic-maker. Dreamer. Content expert. Greeter. Organizer. Creator. Custodian. Joy aficionado. Child whisperer. Repository of answers. Dedicated helper. 

All these things describe the Cast Member prowess, but really, what many Cast Members do is above-and-beyond and truly indescribable. Surprised a special young man in his element tonight; happy thoughts resulted.

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Edible smiles a-plenty: A trip to the YMCA Family Center

As the largest single-site employer in the U.S., the Disney 'Ohana is sizable. Did you know that two special YMCA family centers operate on Walt Disney World property, seven days a week, to help care for the children of working Cast Members? Today's "joy ride" brought 42 packs of "original fruit smiles" to help ring in the weekend for these dedicated childcare workers. 

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Collective kindness wins: A visit to Hospice

As time passes, the possibilities associated with “joy rides” continue to make my heart sing. This weekend, I wanted to invite some friends to help, by way of puzzle-creation – I reasoned that anyone could create a puzzle and send it to me, and I could then print them out and bring them along to the Hospice Care Center. My friends didn’t disappoint! Puzzles themed to sports, summer, horses, movies, Disney and literature were created, and I printed them on brightly-colored paper, for extra sunshine. I also partnered with the amazing folks at Wishing Well Florist, to bring a stunning floral bouquet along…joy multiplied! The response was sweet, and I’m anticipating future team effort-type rides in the future.

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Sweet-smelling surprises: A jaunt to the florist

This week, I ventured out to honor the florist, with the idea that it was worthwhile to recognize someone whose career is rooted in creating beautiful things for others. I even found a fitting “thank you” - a watering can! The interaction exceeded all expectations; I walked in the flower shop and recognized the owners as folks from my church. Having never officially met, it was a sweet surprise…even sweeter when they shared that “joy rides” were something they wanted to support, with fresh flowers each week. Blessings abound – even when you least expect it.

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Off-roading: A surprise visit to the Aviva construction site

On a daily basis, I pass the construction site for a new community in Celebration, Fla. It’s been sprouting up quite quickly, and this weekend, I started thinking about the implications of what the construction workers were doing. In essence, they were making “home” possible for people they’d likely never even meet. So, I decided to bring breakfast to the construction site. It was a memorable delivery.

A gentleman who appeared to be leading the efforts flagged me down to ask what exactly I was doing there. I started to explain, and he remarked that I “didn’t need to do that”. As I continued though, his tone shifted, and he shared that “you see this stuff in the movies; I didn’t know people actually cared.” It was a powerful reminder that a little thoughtfulness can go a long way. 

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Feelin' hot, hot, hot: Refreshments for the sign-spinners

Fourth of July brings visitors from here, there and everywhere to the Central Florida region, and I was stuck in traffic with (what seemed like) all of them. On the corner of 535, I noticed three sign-spinners for Pizza Hut, Sea Dog Brewing Company and a buffet working tirelessly to draw attention to their respective locales. Curious, I glanced down at the temperature gauge in the little yellow rocket ship, only to see it was pushing 90 degrees. I wasn't planning on a “joy ride” today, but a detour to snag some refreshments for these dedicated young men was quickly justified. The exchange didn't spark many words, but the hasty opening of the beverages spoke volumes.

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