Holidays, NaBloPoMo 2011, Picture O' The Day, Theme Parks

Wordless Wednesday: 80 Degrees and “Snowing”

fake snow and christmas ornament

Closest we're getting to snow here

About Me, Holidays, The Family That..., Theme Parks

New Year’s Getaway

For New Year’s 2011 we decided to take a mini-break in Orlando.  2010 has been quite a year with a lot of changes and we both felt that we were in dire need of some R&R.  We talked about attempting a more exotic, or at least, further away location, but eventually decided that a low-key, easy-to-reach location would be best.  Of course, we’ve been to Orlando on many occasions, but we always have fun and can usually get a very good deal on hotels.

While unpacking after our arrival on Wednesday I noticed a stowaway:

Despite the clever ruse I recognize them from our trip last fall to Dragon Con in Atlanta.  Sneaky!

Thursday night we attended Sleuth’s Dinner Show.  I’m an actor in a local murder mystery dinner show and was really curious to see how this compared to my production.  We saw the play “Squire’s Inn”.  The theatre looked like it could easily be used for any mystery that involved castles, the Medieval Period, or the like.  This must make it easy to trade out the 13 shows that they have (there are three theatres at the venue).  The show consists of a one-act play, a question and answer session and a summary where you learn who the killer is.  It was quite a different format than what I am used to; ours is a four-act play and more interactive.  However, the food was decent and the evening passed quickly and enjoyably.  My hubby got lucky and was one of the winners.  He received this badge, which we are told is 100% official:

Friday we had breakfast in bed, swam in the pool, and went to see Narnia “The Voyage of the Dawn Treader”.  I hope that despite the low box office returns the studio will finish out the series.  We also ate lunch at T-Rex café.  It’s mediocre food at high prices, but you get the treat of a meteor shower every 20 minutes!


We rang in the New Year at Sea World.  They had dancing trees, “snow” in the Waterfront, ice skating, and most importantly, fireworks.  We also saw the seasonal Shamu Rocks show, which included a live guitarist who wailed out riffs reminiscent of Van Halen and Nuno Bettancourt.

I enjoyed the show especially the baby in the tank mimicking the tricks that mom was doing.  What a cutie!

I can’t deny that I liked the show, but I wonder if the whales really do have a good life in captivity.  *sigh*

Saturday, we did a whole lot of sleeping.  Eventually, we had dinner at Benihana’s and saw “True Grit” at the movies.  The remake was surprisingly excellent!  I noticed that Jeff Bridges acts in every other movie that comes out recently; I’m not surprised after his Oscar win last year.  It’s nice to see that Hollywood isn’t always just for the young and beautiful.  My only complaint was the difficulty in understanding his muddled speech for Rooster in some scenes.

Strangely enough there is also a LOT of pizza in our hotel…pizza in the restaurant…at the pool…in the room…on the run…in your sheets…on your nightstand…lurking outside your window on the 7th floor…

Soylent Red – It’s…pizza!

On an odd side note – I watched more Lock Up than I ever thought possible during this trip.  It was the Guru’s program of choice while drifting off to sleep each night.  He has to sleep with the television on; I can sleep through a tornado so it’s often on even though I don’t really care for it.  I spent most nights up until the wee hours of the morning engrossed by Stieg Larsson’s novel, The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, long after the Guru was asleep, and thus got to enjoy the beauty and mystery that is Lock Up.  I discovered that in one prison inmates keep cats and gophers as pets, and in another is a lady whose interview was literally the most frightening thing I’ve seen.

And on that note – Happy New Year 2011!

All Things Geek and Wonderful, Theme Parks

Harry Potter and the Ride of Doom

I spent Black Friday enjoying Universal Islands of Adventure with Antebellum and the cousins.  I really love a good theme park and I was having an excellent time until I encountered this:

Yep, that’s right…Harry Potter and the Ride of Doom.

One ride to puke them all

One ride to blind them

One ride to bring them all

And in the darkness inflict motion sickness on them

To be fair to Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey –

1) I did ride this last month with no incident other than having to close my eyes for a few moments when it got a bit too intense.

2) I am prone to motion sickness.  Unfortunately, this has been getting worse as I get older.

Perhaps, my reaction had something to do with riding the Dragon Challenge three times in a row with Cousin M&M just prior to this.  Maybe, I was simply foolish (who, me?) to attempt riding this monster a second time in one day.  Or it could have just been my “lucky” day.

Whatever the reason, I was struck with horrible and debilitating motion sickness after my second jaunt on the Ride of Doom.

For the better part of two hours, I could only sit at a table looking at the ground while slowly eating saltines provided by Antebellum (I love you!) as my brain rattled and my eyes felt like they were going to burst out of my skull.  (Some of you probably would have gotten a kick out of that bit)

Unfortunately, throwing myself into the fires of Mount Doom to end the agony was out of the question.

After what seemed like an eternity, I was able to hobble toward the front of the park.  Since I couldn’t look up, left, or right, I had to be led by the hand like a blind woman.  Make way for Grammy!

May ye be warned.

Holidays, Theme Parks

Top 10 Things NOT To Do At A Haunted Attraction

Here’s a list of the top 10 things that you should NOT do when visiting a haunted attraction.  Doing these things instantly tells the scare-actors at the event that you are the LAMEST human on the planet.  It’s almost as great when you wear that I’m With Stupid shirt.

Top 10 Things Not To Do At A Haunted Attraction:

1 – Be the annoying first person of the group.  You know the one who has to point out every single scare thus ruining things for all the people behind them.  This is not cool.  Don’t do it.  It just makes you look like a tool.

2 – SCREAM in the scare-actor’s face in an attempt to scare them.  Umm…we get paid to scream at you for a whole month.  Do you really think that you are going to scare us?  Don’t you think we can scream longer and louder than you?  *sigh*

3 – Shout out, “That was lame” or “You didn’t scare me”, after a scare.  Really?  I didn’t scare you?  Is that why you jumped 3 feet into the air and are now on the other side of the hallway from me?  It’s because my scare was lame?  Puh-lease.

4 – Ask out the scare-actors.  We do not want your phone number.  We already know we are hot.  No, we will not marry you.  Go find a real life girlfriend.  If you can’t do that then rent one.

5 – Steal and/or touch things in the haunted house.  There are 40 of us working in the haunted house.  We can see in the dark and fog, and you can’t.  Don’t try and steal things as if no one is watching.  We are always watching you.  Right now I am watching you….buwuahahaha!….cough…cough…stealing is wrong.  End of story.

6 – SMOKE.  For goodness sake, do not light up your cigarette, joint or peace pipe in the haunted house.  We do not want to breathe in any more smoke or fog than we have to.  Besides, have some consideration for the rest of the people trying to enjoy the house.  If that’s not enough I’ll simply mention that there are copious amounts of cops stationed at every house and scare zone.  Can we say busted?

7 – Touch the scare-actors.  Yes, we are HUMANS.  We are doing a job.  We are not there to be fondled, groped or otherwise molested.  We will follow you out of the house and have you expelled from the park.  Don’t for a second think that I will not touch you back in self-defense!  You have been warned.

8 – Bring your toddler in the house.  I do not want to jump out from behind my hidey-hole only to see you holding your toddler’s hands for support as they slowly walk their way through the house.  Do you really wonder why your toddler doesn’t sleep through the night?  Save your child a lot of time, money and psychiatric treatment and keep them away from serious scary haunted events until they are at least 10 or 12 years old.  Hire a babysitter.

9 – Walk through the house hunched over or grabbing the shirt of the person in front of you in a death grip.  If you do this I guarantee you WILL be on the receiving end of as many scares as humanly possible.  Scare-actors are spookily good at sensing weakness in you.  Try as you might to hide it we will sniff out the scaredycats!  Avoiding these obvious tells might save you a little heartache and make our job a tad bit tougher.

10 – Ask us not to scare you.  You are at a HAUNTED event.  You paid good money to come to said event.  We WILL scare you when at all possible.  We certainly wouldn’t want you to leave without getting your money’s worth.

Holidays, Theme Parks

Addicted to Scares!

Is there something in my eye?

As the Halloween season draws to a close I think back on my experiences  this year at Howl-O-Scream with delight.  I’ve worked at Howl-O-Scream at Busch Gardens Tampa on and off since 2006.  This year I was what we call a substitute, or “sub”, which means I get to float around from haunted house to haunted house.  I lucked out this year and got to work in every house (except Alone) and quite a few of the scare zones.  It was awesome!

Something old, something new, something bloody, something blue...

Why do I come back year after year and work a physically demanding job at all hours of the night?  I can’t resist the costumes, acting, makeup, other crazy scare-actors, and above all else, I’m addicted to scares!  I love to hear you scream.  It’s great when you jump or cry.  It’s even better when you run or fall down.  Not to mention those of you who can’t quite hold your bodily fluids in.  To me you are all prey just waiting for the right trigger to create that glorious moment of terror.  Too bad I have to wait a whole year for my next fix.

Good-bye Howl-O-Scream.  Stay ghoulish until next year!