Walking With the Walking Dead

horror nights

Our last night in Florida, and the last night of our babymoon, was spent waiting in many long lines and walking with dead. We went to Universal Studio’s Halloween Horror Nights. The theme this year was The Walking Deadwhich is really appropriate considering it’s everyone’s favorite TV show. Now, I know I have reviewed a couple haunted houses lately, but the Universal house are crazy good. Not necessarily crazy scary, but they are so well put together and professionally done. We’ve been once before, and it was definitely worth returning.

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Typically, the park is set up with several Haunted Houses and scare zones. The scare zones are placed on the roads throughout the park and we, the guests, must walk through them to get from attraction to attraction. It’s brilliant really, like all of a sudden you are in the middle of a haunted world when you thought you were just walking to the funnel cake stand. This year, the scare zones were different. Every single zone was a zombie zone, “the undead streets” if you will.

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I was unaware of this little change and was caught completely off guard (i.e. totally freaked out) when as soon as we entered the park people started running and before I knew it a very realistic zombie was growling in my face. Keep in mind that this is not your typical neighborhood haunted house, this is Universal so their makeup and costuming is done right. It was fun/terrifying to walk around the park and all of sudden find ourselves in the middle of a scene from The Walking Dead. 

zombies

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One annual attraction at Horror Nights is a not scary comedy show, Bill & Ted’s Excellent Halloween Adventure. This show is basically a 45 minute crude humor show that pokes fun and brings up every possible pop culture reference you can think of. It’s funny, but not hilarious…unless you are 14 or very drunk (which most people were).

bill and ted

We were at Horror Nights from open to close (6:30pm-Midnight), we were there past midnight actually, and still only had time for five of the eight haunted houses. The lines were ridiculous. We waited in most for about an hour, some longer. Waiting in line sucked and there’s just no other way to put it. There was no entertainment, which I found shocking. Why can’t they project scary movies while we wait? Or provide games? Or something? Whatever, I know I’d do it again.

The houses have a constant stream of people going through, which would lead one to believe that jumping out and scaring poor innocent guests would be difficult, maybe even impossible. Somehow, Universal found a way to make this work. We (mostly Husband) were scared to the point of screaming as we held each other and inched around every corner. They were experts at popping out when you least expect them and from places were you would never expect. Ugh, if only I could have taken photos!

We walked through The Cabin in the Woods, Resident Evil: Escape From Raccoon City, An American Werewolf in London, Evil Dead and Afterlife: Death’s Vengeance before we were told we had to leave the park.

Other parts of the park were open too…I couldn’t ride most of the rides, but I did get to check out the new addition to the Simpson’s Land! They have added a very realistic Moe’s, Krusty Burger and more. They serve real Duff beer and a non-alcoholic drink called a “Flaming Moe”.

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By midnight (well by 9pm really) my feet hurt worse than they have ever hurt before. Not that I wasn’t enjoying myself, but I was looking forward to the park closing.  I don’t know when we will be able to return to Horror Nights but this was the 23rd annual year, so maybe the 25th? Only time will tell…

die-in

Cheers and Happy Haunting!

Food and….Food? Festival

food and wine

Disney is known for catering towards families and children (just read yesterday’s post), but there is one celebration that is strictly for adults (or children that are 21 and older); the food and wine festival. If it’s a little odd to see Magic Kingdom under a spooky lights, than it’s surreal to see Disney turned into a bar hop. Surreal and delicious. This is my third food and wine festival to attend, and I plan to attend many more!

EPCOT

Besides the fact that I could not drink (thanks a lot baby), this may have been the best year yet. The weather was perfect, 80 degrees and a little breezy. The lines were not too long and I now eat fish, which opens up a whole new world of foods to taste. Since we were saving so much money on alcohol, we got more food than should be legal. I took pictures of almost everything we tried, so enjoy.

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I just had to take a break to eat something because editing those photos made me SO hungry.

The festival had 30 different countries and a free passport to stamp and check off purchases in each country. There are also tons of wine tasting classes and cooking classes you can pay a little extra to attend. We stood behind one of the wine tasting classes for a minute and heard things like “if you smell closely you can get a hint of pepper, mint, bay leaves and raspberries” and “sip and taste the poblano peppers, cherries, cilantro and a hint of cinnamon”. I wanted desperately to ask for a show of hands of who actually tasted these subtle flavors.

checkout china menu passport wine class

There are also free concerts all evening at the American Gardens Theatre. Wilson Phillips was the big act the night we were there.

wilson phillips

There is a Chase Lounge at the festival for Chase bank members that offers free sodas, juices, coffees, teas, Disney movies, air conditioner and unlimited phone chargers. Thank God I have a Chase account. It is heavenly to be able to step away from the crowds at the festival and relax with some free goodies for a bit. The lounge was located on the third floor of the American pavilion this year, which happened to be the location of our cocktail hour for our wedding. We never actually got to attend our cocktail hour so it was fun to be able to sit and hangout out where our guests enjoyed some cocktails before our reception.

chase lounge

Speaking of our wedding, we couldn’t help but walk through the American pavilion and talk about how we had our first dance right in the middle where the colonial singers were currently performing classic American songs. Then we skipped over to Italy and I forced Husband to take a picture on the bridge where we stood and watched the fireworks after our ceremony. You better believe I’ll force him to retake the same picture in the next year or so with our little girl.

us on bridge

Between stuffing our faces and Husband getting a little tipsy, we had some fun outside of the festival. We rode the rides, took photos with characters and showed off my new favorite tank top! Husband got to ride the new and improved Test Track (it’s not safe for pregnant people). Sleeping Beauty suggested I name our daughter Aurora, and everyone wanted to know where I got my Disney maternity top.

test track sleeping beauty Minnie baby take shirt

For those of you who may be wondering, I ordered from Etsy at a shop called BabyTalk Designs.

Did I mention how nice of a day it was?

sunset france at sunset

The only downside is that we had to leave before Illuminations…I just don’t have the energy I had last year! Oh well, it’s nice to not feel rushed on vacation.

Cheers!

Mickey’s Halloween Party

Clearly, Husband and I are a little nutty and have been to Disney World more times than most people would ever want to go anywhere. We just can’t get enough. However, as many times as we have been, we have never attended Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween party. So, when Husband decided we were going to Florida to celebrate his Birthday I made sure that the party was part of our plans.

halloween party the castle

During the Halloween party (and during all the Disney parties held at Magic Kingdom) the park closes early for the guest who did not purchase a special party ticket and opens (or stays open) for the guests attending the party. We were there from 7pm to midnight. About the time we arrived the sun went down and the park transformed into a not-too-spooky land fun of characters like Jack and Sally from the Nightmare Before Christmas and incredible party decorations.

memories mickey wreath

99% of the people in attendance are dressed in costume, like incredible costumes. Most families dressed in theme… We saw Peter Pan with Tinkerbell, Wendy and Captian Hook. There was Buzz, Woody, Jessie, and Rex. One family had Alice, the Mad Hatter, the Cheshire Cat, the Queen of Hearts and Tweedle Dum and Tweedle Dee. The best part of the night may have been just people watching. Everyone was so darn adorable! We, on the other hand did not dress up… I know what you’re thinking, we are so the kind of people who typically go all out in these sorts of situations, but we were just so busy the weeks before, it just wasn’t in the cards. Don’t worry though, I have BIG plans for when our baby girl gets here.

us and the castle

I got to see my good friend Ruth from NYC!
I got to see my good friend Ruth from NYC!

The Halloween party is definitely set up for families with children. There are trick-or-treat stations set up around the park, dance parties with different characters go on all night and the villains even put on a special show throughout the night in front of the castle. These activities were not as fun for us non-costumed grown-ups, but there was plenty we LOVED.

back of castle

For one, the “Mickey’s Boo-to-You” parade is amazing! This is the best Disney parade I have ever seen, which basically makes it the best parade ever. Some of the characters are really creepy and come right up to you, some even touch your face as they whisper “Happy Halloween”, and the choreography is much better than a typical Disney parade.

parade headless horseman hitchhiking ghost

“HalloWishes” is the fireworks show shown during the night and it’s VERY good. Nothing is better than the original “Wishes”, but I do love the extra big production and the Halloween music in “HalloWishes”. We actually watched them from behind the castle, so we had a show of fireworks happening in a full circle around us.

hallowishes fireworks castle and fireworks

The Haunted Mansion was phenomenal! It was surrounded by spooky lights, tons of fog and there was even a “real” ghost outside the house telling jokes to keep all of us in line entertained.

haunted mansion ghost

Then, there’s the food. With a pumpkin spiced waffle sundae and a candy corn flavored dole whip, you just can’t go wrong.

waffle sundae

BTW, I'm fairly certain this is just vanilla soft serve with candy corn hidden in the cone...still good though.
BTW, I’m fairly certain this is just vanilla soft serve with candy corn hidden in the cone…still good though.

We had a blast. We actually got Disney exactly 2 hours before the party started so it was great to get spend the entire first night at Magic Kingdom. The lines were shorter than normal and it was fun to see Disney under a slightly spookier vibe. Next time, will be even better!

happy halloween

Cheers!

Fall Break in NYC

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*Written Saturday, October 12th…obviously I’m a little behind on my postings….LOTS of catching up to do!

We are officially halfway through our “babymoon” vacation. We just left the big apple (in-flight now), are headed to Nashville for some haunted housing and a very big ceremony. Then it’s off to Florida! New York was great, and I think it will end up being the most relaxing part of this two-week vacation.

Love walking along 5th and Central Park
Love walking along 5th and Central Park

For the first time ever I went on a vacation with zero plans. I had our flight in and our flight out written in my calendar, and nothing in between. After living there for two years it seemed a bit ridiculous to make plans. So, we played everything by ear and ended up relaxing a lot (for us, anyways).

I've been trying some new hairstyles everyday...I'm a bit sick of my hair at the moment.
I’ve been trying some new hairstyles everyday…I’m a bit sick of my hair at the moment.

We hit our favorite spots…Central Park, the MET, the giant public library on 5th, Chelsea Market, etc. Strolling around the park and relaxing is possibly what I miss most about New York. We spent a lot of time just people watching, and laughing at the people in the boat pond who had no clue how to row a boat.

Husband and Zoey having a leaf fight in the park (and yes, he is wonderful and carrying all of my crap)
Husband and Zoey having a leaf fight in the park (and yes, he is wonderful and carrying all of my crap)

The MET had a few new exhibits, as they always do, and we happened to go on the most beautiful day of the week. The rooftop was open, the sky was sunny and the views were spectacular. The exhibit on the roof right now is called “Zombie Garden”. You see why, right?

Zombie Zoey
Zombie Zoey
Rooftop of the MET
Rooftop of the MET

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The library had a new exhibit up that focused on the history and importance of children’s books, which is right up my alley. Plus, there was an entire Mary Poppins section!

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Mary Poppins umbrella is on display!

We shopped on 5th Avenue, Madison and through Chinatown. We snacked at a Chinese bakery on pineapple bread and mango and basil seed juice. I haven’t been to a Chinese bakery since we were in China 5 years ago, so it brought back lots of great memories. At Bloomingdales, I bought my first ever pair of shoes for the sole reason of being comfortable. I LOVE shoes, but in a fashionable artistic way. I could care less if my shoes are comfortable, until now. Being pregnant has made my feet total weenies. I was barely making it around Manhattan and began to worry about all the walking we will be doing around Disney. So, I did what a sensible person might do and bought a comfortable pair of non-slippery shoes with lots of support. They aren’t so bad. I’ve got to say, my feet feel aaammmmazzzzinnggg!

Shopping down Madison Ave.
Shopping down Madison Ave.
Mmmm pineapple bread and some weird delicious iced tea
Mmmm pineapple bread and some weird delicious iced tea
oh yeah...comfy shoes
oh yeah…comfy shoes

We ate bagels at H&H, breakfast at lots of little diners, tacos at Tacombi and pizza of course. Sorry, but I am definitely one of “those people” who swears New York has the best pizza! (They do, they really do!) We even ate at the Stardust Diner for the first time ever. The Stardust is in Time Square and is famous for it’s staff, which is ALL professional singers, actors and dancers who are trying to make it on Broadway. (Rachel and Santana work there now, for all you Glee fans.) We decided we might as well try it since we are acting as tourist all week. The waiters were surprising talented and entertaining, the food was nothing to brag about and overpriced.

bagels at H&H
bagels at H&H
tacombi!!!
tacombi!!!

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We also so Pippin on Broadway, because no trip to New York is complete with a trip to Broadway. Pippin is an old musical that’s been revived and features some crazy cirque du soleil type acts, erotic dancing, some intense singing and a storyline that leaves you thinking “WTF”? We liked it, but I am also biased due to the fact that Gilmore Girls referenced the heck out of Pippin in one episode.

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Box seats for the first time!
Box seats for the first time!

Of course, the best part of our trip was catching up with friends. We had dinner out with different friends almost every night and really enjoyed catching up and getting to spend time with people we love so much. We love traveling and moving around, but it always sucks to make and leave friends so often. It’s also a good reason to go back and visit though.

Maybe, I’ll keep up with writing better over the next week, maybe not.

Exploring the archives of the MET
Exploring the archives of the MET

Have a great week!

Cheers!

Let the Babymoon Begin!

*Written at 8am yesterday.

Today is the first day of our last big hurrah before Baby Z’s arrival. Our original plan was to travel internationally…(we take at least one international trip every year), but things did not line up accordingly so this year we are being less adventurous than normal, but still excited to visit two of our most favorite places: NYC and Disneyworld.

I am sitting on a plane headed for New York as I type. We will spend 5 glorious days soaking up one of our favorite home away from homes. Then, we are flying back to Nashville for a very special ceremony for out Aunt. The very next day we are driving to Orlando for Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party, EPCOT’s Food and Wine festival and Universal’s Halloween Horror Nights! And maybe, just maybe, we’ll stop by a nice warm beach for a minute or so. Woohoo!

View of the Upper East Side from Roosevelt Island.
View of the Upper East Side from Roosevelt Island.
Food and Wine Festival 2012
Food and Wine Festival 2012

We love traveling more than pretty much anything else…hope this baby is okay with going overseas for her first birthday. I don’t know if we will be able to wait much longer before another big trip. Once we got the itch to travel the world, it just hasn’t gone away.

I’ll do my best to keep you posted on our babymoon adventures over the next two weeks, but no promises!

I hope each of you are getting some sort of fall break. Don’t we all deserve a little getaway?

Cheers!