Monday, December 29, 2008

Christmas at Disney - COOLEST Gingerbread House (Dec 20)

After we were done at Disney's Hollywood Studios, looking at the lights, we headed over to my FAVORITE resort (Disney or not), The Grand Floridian. It's breathtaking, inside and out. It's got this old Victorian charm.... I love it. Actually, the decor is similar to that of the college I went to, University of Tampa. The main hall... Plant Hall... used to be a hotel in the early 1900's and it has been preserved, even as it's used for a college.

Anyway, when you first walk in, you see this.... a 5 story Christmas tree.....

Besides seeing a tree, you can smell gingerbread throughout the entire lobby, on the first two floors. That's because of the huge Gingerbread house "tucked" in the corner of the lobby. To give you an idea of how massive this thing is, look at what went into it....

Seriously, this thing is the coolest Gingerbread house EVER. I wish pictures could really show just how huge this thing is......

It's SO detailed, too. Like everything at Disney, nothing is left undone. The entire thing has been planned out and has some sort of Disney touch to it. There are 23 hidden Mickey's... we found 6 of them, but really didn't try to find the others, lol. There was a family that found 20 and had taken pictures of all of them.

My mom and I......

Kayleigh and Mom.... you kind of get an idea in this pic how gigantic this house actually is. And, it's real, too, lol. On the other side, inside of the house, is a little store that sells baked goods specifically made for the Gingerbread House.

Besides the big tree, there are trees stationed all over the hotel. Kayleigh and I snapped a picture in front of one of them.....

I get that I'm a Disney fanatic, but there's nothing like Disney at Christmastime. Every park, every resort... everything... is decorated to the hilt. And, it's all theme-oriented, too. The Grand Floridian is a Victorian Christmas.... Hollywood Studios is all movies and glamour related... The Polynesian is a tropical Christmas... the list goes on. OH.... and Epcot, which has the World Showcase is fun, too. Each country is decorated for Christmas, as well.

It was a relatively short field trip, but it was super fun and got me all excited about the upcoming week!

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Christmas at Disney - Spectacle of Dancing Lights (Dec 20)

One of the major advantages to living inCentral Florida is that Disney (and all the other Tampa/Orlando parks) is practically in my backyard. We have passes and it's not uncommon for us to head over there for dinner or just to hang for a couple hours.

LOL, one time, I was on the phone with my friend Amy (who grew up in and lives in DC) and I was headed to Disney for dinner. She goes, "I think it's so funny that you guys go to Disney like most people go to a neighborhood park."

Anyway, after working the overnight, I finally had some free time. Literally, it was the first time in over 3 weeks that I'd had more than 4 consecutive hours where I wasn't working or sleeping, lol. Needless to say, fun was in order. My mom, stepdad, and cousin decided to head over to look at the lights and decorations.

If you've never seen or heard of 'The Osborne Family Spectacle of Lights', you're missing out. I LOVE them! We go every year, just to look. In the past couple of years, they made them 'dancing' lights, which is amazing, as well.

I love this picture.... how you can see the sign perfectly and the reindeer/Santa in the background....

Pictures don't really do it justice....

Obviously, you can't see this in the picture, but the flames were moving, so it looked like a gigantic fireplace.....

Again, can't see it in the picture... Mickey and Santa shaking hands.

SO pretty to walk through... a huge tent of lights. Also, there are all these little 'touches' as you're walking through the streets. Bikes wrapped in lights.... hidden Mickey's... all the "apartment" windows decorated differently for Christmas. AND, it also "snows" while you're walking the streets.

Peace, Love, and Disney.....

The TRUE reason for the season....

Kayleigh and I... this was Kay's first time and she was amazed walking through, lol.

A small sample of the show....

Friday, December 26, 2008

James Otto at The Music Ranch (Dec 9)

Amongst all the craziness this month, I did have time to have fun (well, technically, I was still working, but oh well, lol). As a kind of Christmas gift to our listeners, we held another Listener Appreciation Concert at The Music Ranch.

This time, we welcomed James Otto. Personally, I was SUPER excited about this concert. I LOVE James Otto (in fact, as I type this, his 'These Are The Good 'Ole Days' is playing on my station).

M and J announcing James

I'm apparently not the only one who loves James Otto, lol. The place was PACKED. I've never seen so many people in The Music Ranch. In fact, there was quite a crowd sitting and standing outside and were watching through the windows.
James sounded exactly the same in concert as he does on the radio. A lot of times, they don't, so it was great to hear him live and it sound so pure.

I love this shot.... I love that you can see the Christmas tree in the background.
From backstage...

J and I's obligatory smush face pic...

I wasn't about to forget to get a pic! His rep offered to take the pic and all my co-workers were like, "No, she does her own pictures." LOL, my one armed shot is kind of a thing of wonder for them. What you can't see in this pic is that I'm standing as high on my toes as possible.... James Otto is TALL.

It was a big crowd, which meant a long night.... but it was totally worth it. I had a ton of fun!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Parade-Pa-Looza (Dec 4-13)

The holiday season marks a serious round of parades for us Radio Folk. Former Northerners here inform me that Christmas parades aren't as big up north (due to snow, I assume).... but, here, they rule your life for a long time.

Among several remotes and subbing everyday at school while a teacher recovers from surgery, I was on the bill to drive in the parades that one of our stations was scheduled for.

First up.... the hometown parade. Being born and raised here, this is my personal favorite. It's HUGE.... 3 miles long, thousands of people, bands gallore, fireworks. It's awesome! Plus, the parade starts and ends at the same place. None of the other cities follow this trend. It just makes sense to me.

The parade is always held the first Thursday of December. Literally, the whole town revolves its day around it. People start setting up their chairs in the morning. Our station rides and staff from all stations walk/ride through the parade. The parade steps-off right across the street from our station, so we all park at work, hang out, and then walk over to the staging area about 15 minutes before it starts (which is much better than the poor souls that have to be there 2 hours early!).

J and I went out for an early dinner before heading back to the station. We decided to walk the 3 miles to burn off all that yummy food!

My favorite memory of the parade?..... walking over with JJ who was trying to hide a megaphone under his jacket, so that our PD didn't see it and make him take it back, lol. He was successful!! He and the other DJ's used it to shout greetings to everyone as they rode on top of the Boom Box.

2nd favorite part of the parade?..... All of us that were walking had to RUN to catch up to everyone else, a couple of times. Most of the time, we were ahead of the van, but then R (the driver) would gun it and we'd be running. One of the guys took video on his phone of us booking it to catch up, lol.

I know J got a couple really cute pictures, but I forgot my camera :(.

The next night (Friday, Dec 5) was the HD parade. HD is interesting because it stages in the parking lot of this really big retirement community. The residents all look out their windows or sit out in the front, to see all the floats. At this point, I was officially on M duty. E, H (who dressed up as the dog), and I decked out the van. Then, we sat for two hours. Because, they want you to be there WAY before the thing starts. One of our other station was lined up near us, so we hung out with them, too.

Saturday the 6th was a triple duty day. We had HC at 10 (9am line up).... that one was rough... lots of starting and stopping.

Most memorable moment?....... During a particularly lengthy stop, this older lady on a float about three ahead of us got DOWN during 'Twist and Shout.' She was standing next to a tree and I do believe the tree blushed, lol. I was in tears. It made my day, lol.

We ran and got food. Then, we had PC at 2pm (1pm line up). Again, interesting parade. The smaller towns are always interesting, because there is usually just as many people watching the parade as are IN the parade, lol. After both parades, we headed to WH for a PA.

LONG day, but I had a lot of fun hanging out with E and H. Holly makes a FABULOUS mascot. She gets on top of the van and boogies down. The crowds love her!! E put together a great CD to play during the parade. Overwhelming favorite?.... 'Bust a Move'.... it doesn't matter how dead the crowd is, that come on and everyone starts dancing and cheering, lol.

I forgot my camera then, too. Which makes me really sad, as H was only there for that weekend.

The next weekend started with Friday's B parade. Other than my hometown, this is probably the biggest of the parades. Once again, we had to line up early, so E and I sat and chatted for a while. J, T, and R each made their way over from the van to come say "Hi." About 10 minutes before the parade started, we got everything set up to go (we were a well-oiled machine by that point, lol.)

Memorable moment #1.... Freezy pops. It was COLD! Throughout the route, I noticed all these people eating freezy pops and was seriously perplexed, as it really was chilly outside. Finally, I asked someone and a float ahead of us was passing them out!!

Memorable moment #2.... E and the bratwurst. While enroute, we saw an avid listener. She was waving and shouting, and E was waving and shouting right back. She was selling food and he jokingly asked where his was. About 5 minutes later, this teenager runs up beside the van, "E!!! Here's your brat!"

As you can see, I remembered my camera. Here's a look from the van, during the parade, lol....

The last parade was Saturday, the 13th, in LW. We got a pretty late start, thanks to a coworker who had the van at a remote and took his sweet time getting it back to us, lol. Once we got there, we decided to set up first, just to be on the safe side.

Once we were done setting up, we goofed off with the camera until the parade started.....

Once that parade was over, so was Parade season. It's a hectic two weeks, but it can also be fun. Mainly, I like hanging out with my friends from the station. There's a lot of down time (hurry up and wait), so you get to chill and chat. Usually, everyone works such different shifts and crazy hours that you don't get to really hang out unless you're on the road.

Anyways, we're done, for now, lol.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

What a December....

I've sadly been neglecting my blog, lately. It has been a CRAZY December!

I'll post in detail, later, but here's a general rundown...
  • 6 parades in 2 weeks
  • 3 weeks of subbing Full-Time (another week and a half to come the beginning of Jan)
  • Regular station hours, plus starting a 2 week marathon of overnights
  • 7 remotes in 3 weeks (yes, in addition to the parades)
  • Dance 3 nights a week (when I'm not already working.... poor Dance)
  • Trying to get ready for Christmas, lol

It *has* been fun, though. I have pictures to post and stories to tell, as soon as I can find the time, lol.