Monday, October 29, 2012


These past two weeks, I had a vacation.  A real, honest to goodness, no work, all play, all fun VACATION! It's been over a decade since my hubby and I had even a weekend of nothing but fun alone, together.

Yes, we've had a couple of 1 week gigs - but we were doing a show at the time and while it was still great, not a true vacation. And we do get to LA at least once a year for fabric shopping and SOMETIMES visit with the Mouse in Anaheim, it's still work.

It was the perfect storm of vacationing. Steve had accepted a cruise ship contract that had him randomly off the ship for a week, then back on for a week in Miami. We thought about having him fly to NY and I would meet him there, but then we started thinking about just staying in Florida - somewhere I have always wanted to go...and they have a "Magical Kingdom" or two... So we decided that I would fly out to Miami and meet him there and spend the week in Florida. Then, seeing as how I would already be there, I should join him on the ship for a second week of fun. He's been doing cruise ships for the past 3 1/2 years, it's high time I got to see what he actually DOES out there. And I've never been on a cruise, so it was the perfect opportunity to do that!

Getting ready was not fun...I had to not only pack for myself but also the kids as they were going to be spending those two weeks between grandma's house, aunt Ilona's house and a family friends house. On top of that, we had a costume rental that needed to be shipped out while we would be gone so I had to process that - and purchase some new pieces for some new costumes - AND I decided to take on a last minute Halloween project for a well as finish up my own kids' costumes. So I was working my bum off until the moment I left town! And not sleeping much.

SO - the big moment finally came on Saturday evening as I took a red-eye into Ft Lauderdale. Even though I was totally exhausted, I could not sleep on the was SO uncomfortable. And my flight was scheduled to land at 9:30 AM but Steve had to get off the ship at 6 AM! Fortunately he was able to hand out at a Marriott hotel while he waited for me. Much more comfortable than the Cruise Ship terminal. So I grabbed our rental car and drove through beautiful Miami to pick him up - and time for our ADVENTURE to begin! We were both really tired, but after a quick lunch, the drive from Miami to Kissimmee was very pleasant! It took about 4 hours, but the last half hour was the hardest, expecting to see DISNEYWORLD at any moment...Steve was like a little kid at Christmas!

We arrived around 4pm and went to our hotel. It was a quiet, decent hotel quite close to Disneyworld - we could see the Tree of Life and Expedition Everest from our balcony! Even though we were both so tired, we decided to go get some dinner and even drive around the Disneyworld area so we knew what to expect the next morning. And we didn't want to fall asleep too early for fear that we might wake up at some weird hour and not be able to fall back asleep.

Now, having been Disneyland Junkies for most of our lives, we were quite surprised at how different things are at Disneyworld. It's so spread out, large parking lots at each theme park. Unlike being smack dab in the middle of a city with busy streets like in California. It was VERY pleasant!

Monday morning, bright and early, we were up and ready to start our Disneyworld adventure! We started at the Magic Kingdom - got through the gates just as they started their "welcome" show (so CUTE!) and headed into the park. It's the same and Disneyland and very, very different! We spent the morning into the early afternoon riding the rides and taking it all in! We headed over to Epcot for the afternoon - isn't that a different theme park, but very cool nonetheless.  The important thing is that I learned that if I take Dramamine, I don't get dizzy on the roller coasters - I was even just fine on Mission: Space - where they spin you around at high speeds to simulate space travel! I know, that's probably a "duh" thing, but our last trip to Magic Mountain left me green and disappointed. Then we headed back to the Magic Kingdom for the fireworks. It was a really long day..and we were really tired by the end of it. I hadn't quite caught up from those pre-travel sleepless nights.

But Tuesday morning we were up bright and early again and headed to Disney's Animal Kingdom! We were met there by our friend Chanel who was sweet enough to sign us in for the day. We spent the morning together - hitting up Expedition Everest and the Kilimanjaro Safari's, both of which were very fun! After Chanel left to do some errands and enjoy her day off, we caught the Lion King show and the Finding Nemo show. Both were great, but Finding Nemo was....AMAZING! The puppets were incredible and the actors were amazing. It was just fantastic! We also hit up the Dinosaur ride - which is basically Indiana Jones with Dinosaurs, and watched the parade. Oh, and we shouldn't forget the yummy honey chicken...mmmmm. Animal Kingdom closes early for the animals, so we went back to the hotel and took a short nap, freshened up and headed back to Epcot to eat in "Morocco" and catch their night time show.

Wednesday we slept in and took some time to drive around the area. Just explore a little! Florida has a lot of entertainment offerings, similar to Vegas, so it was worth a look, checking out the area...who knows what the future brings! We loved it and yes, we know it gets really hot and humid in the summer, but how is that much different than where we live now? ;)

Thursday we checked out Hollywood Studios/Islands of Adventure. We started out in Islands of Adventure and headed straight to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Granted, we know nothing about Harry Potter, but we heard the ride was pretty amazing. And it WAS! But even with Dramamine in my system, I was feeling pretty darn nauseous. But the tech was amazing! We wandered through Seussville and the Superhero section - the Hulk was a really fun coaster with a surprise start! The Jurassic Park ride was cool and then we decided to go on Bluto's Barge...and got SOAKED! Fortunately we brought changes of clothes, so we went to our car and changed and headed over to Universal Studios. We hit up several rides and caught a parade. It was fun but also closed early for a Halloween party, so we left the parks and got some dinner and rented a movie!

Friday we were back to Disneyworld and started out at Hollywood Studios! We went straight for Tower of Terror (my FAVORITE - but I like the one in CA better!) and the rockin' rollercoaster. We watched the Indian Jones Stunt show and were on our way to lunch when I decided to ask about what the American Idol thing was...and I decided to "audition". It as a really cool experience! First I sang for the initial judge - she was cool and had me try some stuff and sent me on to the "producer." He was great and helped me find a song that would hide my "musical theatre" voice and decided to put me on the 5pm show. So we grabbed some lunch and just wandered around, catching some of the great street entertainment they have there. I had to be at the stage door by 3:50 and was wisked away into hair and makeup (wishing I had worn something nicer than a white t-shirt and plaid pants) and had a coaching session with their vocal coach. He was great - and we had some friends in common in Las Vegas. The producer helped me decide on singing "Holding out for a Hero" from Footloose and there was a bridge I needed to improv around. I was just really impressed that they took it so seriously. Then we had a dress rehearsal and it was showtime. It was really well done! I sang 3rd, against a cute Utah mom and a teenage girl who had driven in just to do the American Idol thing. And I won! Which meant I needed to be back for the 7pm final show, where I competed against the 4 other winners for the day. I went first and did not win, but I could have cared less! It was just fun - and the girl who beat me could really sing, and she went last which I'm sure helped. But I was the winner after all - I scored VIP seating for their version of FANTASMIC! That was well worth it. :)

AND I got to fulfill my life long dream of performing in Flip Flops. :)

Saturday morning we started back at Hollywood Studios so we could catch the Beauty and the Beast show and catch Steve's friend Meagan in her street show! She was HILARIOUS - as was the entire show. SO funny!

After that, we went back to the hotel to do some laundry and pack, and hit the stores to grab some essentials before we headed to the cruise ship. We ended the night at the Magic Kingdom where I experienced a personal Disney first! While we were on Splash Mountain, the ride malfunctioned and we had to be escorted off! I, for one, was relieved because I didn't really want to get wet. :) And then we got a fast pass we could use for another ride! Score! And fun to walk through the scenes.

We stayed up WAY to late and didn't get home from the parks until after midnight. Which stunk when we woke up at 5:30 to drive back to Ft Lauderdale and drop off the rental car and head to the 2nd part of our adventure!

I won't spend much time talking about the cruise. It was a cruise! We ate a lot (though not TOO much), saw the shows every night and spent some time at port. We were scheduled to go to Jamaica and Grand Caymen, but we went to Cozumel and Costa Maya instead to avoid Hurricane Sandy, which hit Jamaica the day we were supposed to be there. So I got to visit Mexico for the first time. In Cozumel, we had a cute girl make name bracelets for all the kids.

And it's always fun to see my hubby performing. He's so HOT in his show! And the audiences LOVE him! We couldn't go anywhere without hearing "great show! Great job! We loved you!" He's like a celebrity on the ships.

The cruise was a really nice way to finish our vacation. Relaxing - and I slept SO well! Well, except the last night when were were traveling back into Miami and hit some of the Sandy winds - that was a ROUGH night at sea, that's for sure! But a lot of fun and really great couple time for the two of us.

Now it's back to life, but can't wait to plan the next one! Definitely something we need to do more often. :)

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