Wednesday, August 5, 2009
Also, we have so many people to thank. Thank you to the Orlando CVB for putting this whole thing together and including us! Thank you to the other contestants for making our time together so memorable! And most of all thank you to all our family and friends that were so supportive! We've had the time of our lives, and hope it showed. And as for you Orlando: We'll be back!
Monday, August 3, 2009
Going live on "The Buzz". Until we got bumped by Joey Fatone.
Too bad we didn't get to keep the helmets.
Thursday, July 30, 2009
A fine dining experience can go from pleasant to exquisite when you add the pleasure of good company. If there's one thing we learned throughout this entire endeavor it is this: Fun and adventure are most meaningful when shared. That is what makes Orlando such a special place. There are so many things to share with those you love that you can't possible visit without forming lasting memories. Memories that are like fine wine and will only get better with age. We have no doubt that years and years from now we will look back on our time in Orlando and it will still make us grin from ear to ear. In a short 67 hours we formed memories that we will cherish for a lifetime. They call Disney World the Magical Kingdom, but truly there is something enchanting about all of Orlando.
We "squeezed" in some time to learn about orange farming...and to come up with that corny joke.
As part of our 67 hour cram session in Orlando we could not go through our stay without experiencing one of the "Big 3" attractions as the locals call them. SeaWorld, DisneyWorld, and Universal Studios, everyone of them a magical place in their own way, are iconic in that peoples thoughts of vacationing in Orlando often gather round them. Many vacation plans begin and end with these three awesome entertainment complexes. As we would soon learn this phenomena was not without good reason and even though a big part of our Orlando experience was trying to look at the myriad of other amazing things there are to be done in Orlando the big 3 DO have a lot to offer. A whole heck of a lot. The group of 10 finalist pairs were to be split up into 3 teams in order to explore the different parks. Names were picked from hats and the roller coaster gods must have been smiling on Clay as he drew Universal Studios from the hat! Both of us, having previously been lucky enough to experience Disney and SeaWorld at locations other than Florida,were really hoping for a chance to see what thrills Universal had to offer. Boy were we in for the ride of a lifetime.
Clay and I along with 3 other finalist groups were dropped off at the gates of Universal Studios around 8:45 a.m. and asked to meet at the main gates for a 10:00 o'clock tour. This gave us a little time to see some of the CityWalk. The Universal experience began here and although the CityWalk is know more for it's hot music and dancing scene in the evenings hundreds of people were already streaming into the shops and restaurants lining the 30 acre entertainment hub. Here's hoping that the few minutes we had to poke around aren't the last we spend on the CityWalk. We also had a moment to swing by the Hard Rock Hotel. Wow! It was so cool to see all the epic memorabilia they had lining the lobby walls. A slick Eric Clapton guitar was Mikey's fav. We didn't make it over to the Portofino Bay Hotel or the Royal Pacific Resort but have no doubt that they are as luxurious as they come!
After some brief exploration we congregated at the main gate to await a member of the Orlando CVB team who was going to connect us with our tour. Oh did I not mention it was a VIP tour...don't believe me? Here's a breakdown of some of the people our tour guide Branden had taken around the park; Tiger Woods, Mariah Carey, and Yao Ming just to name a few. This tour is literally as good as it gets at Universal Studios. If the President was to visit the park this is the tour he'd take. So naturally we were losing our minds with excitement. The tour was spectacular. Without a doubt the preeminent theme park experience of our life times. We were lucky enough to bypass some of the normally long lines (our average wait time was about 47 seconds), go back stage on some of the rides like the amazing 3-D Spiderman ride and get an idea of how they work, and were given loads of insider information on the new Harry Potter world they are creating at the park...ok so we couldn't pry any Harry Potter spoilers out of Branden but the tour still rocked. Imagine this: Spiderman 3-D, The Incredible Hulk roller coaster, Dr. Doom's Tower of Terror, the twin coasters Dueling Dragons, Jurrasic Park, the classic Jaws boat ride, the Mummy in-door coaster, Men In Black interactive ride, and finally the brand new Simpson themed 3-D animated ride. Back-to-back-to-back-to-back-to-back-to-back-to-back-to-back-to-back-to-back. We rode some of the most awesome, gut wrenching, brain scrambling thrill rides on the planet...It would be a lie if we didn't admit we were close to passing out at one point. Totally worth it!!! Here's a taste of our experience as we hoped on Dr. Doom's Tower of Terror.
Graphic Photo Evidence of Our Universal Experience
Jaws has been hanging around since 1975...Ripe!!!
Our dynamite tour guide Branden (Clay and I flashing our new VIP credentials)
The Hollywood Rip Rocket...still under construction. Word on the street is each rider will get to choose one of over 30 songs to hear while he's screaming around this one. Cool!
Since Branden didn't want to lose his job by spilling the beans we took matters into our own hands. Peeking in on what will be Harry Potters world.
Hogwarts looking good so far.
We didn't see anyone who didn't seem to be enjoying themselves. Tons for the kids to do in Seuss Landing. People of all ages could keep themselves busy all day for a week! I could just see my little girl Jordyn shreiking for joy as her favorite Dr. Seuss characters came to life right before her eyes.
Checking in for our VIP tour!
The gang backing up your Friendly Neighborhood Spiderman