This past week we enjoyed some time at Disney World in Orlando, Florida. It’s been a great week, and it started out with a bit of culture shock. The first few days, we found ourselves speaking Spanish to people accidentally, which was a little embarrassing. But it turns out a lot of people in Orlando speak Spanish. The rest just ignored us, fortunately. We were also amazed at the wide, clean streets – completely pot-hole free – and people obeying traffic rules. We haven’t seen that in a long time. The food has been great, too – more flavorful and more variety than we’re used to.
On the negative side are the high prices, and probably more so because we’re in the land of Disney where everything seems to be double or triple the price it should be. I feel like I’m getting taken advantage of (or completely ripped off) at every opportunity, so we’ve been spending as little as possible.
The parks themselves were a lot of fun, though. The kids especially enjoyed all the rides, many of which are pretty educational. As an avid animal lover, Emily especially enjoyed Animal Kingdom, where she got stamps at different learning stations, and proudly made a pledge to be a friend to all the animals. Her favorite ride was Soarin’, at Epcot, which makes you feel like you’re flying over different parts of California. That was Jen’s favorite, too. Marie couldn’t pick a favorite ride. She liked all of them.
My favorite experience was definitely participating in the American Idol experience at Hollywood Studios! It was an absolutely blast! It started with an a capella audition, which I passed. Then I had 10 minutes to prepare a song to sing by listening to their options on an iPod. I chose “Go the Distance” from Hercules, and barely memorized the words and melody in time for the second audition, which I also passed. From there, they did my hair and make-up (not as bad as it sounds), and I got 10 minutes to work with a vocal coach, who had some great tips about bridging my head and chest voice, and singing in more of a pop style. Unfortunately, I didn’t really have time to practice his tips before I was whisked away to walk through the process of what would happen on stage, how the spotlight would follow me automatically with this cool GPS technology, and how the show would be filmed with professional cameras. And then the show started!
I’d forgotten how much I love being on stage! It was so fun to go out there and sing and have people cheer for me. Even though I look like a dork, and botched the performance with some forgotten words and melody, holding the mic way too low, and just not being prepared (c’mon, I only had 10 minutes!), I would totally do it again! It was so…much…fun! And yes, I got nervous, although only while I was backstage, for some reason. Once on the stage, I felt fabulous!
In the end, I didn’t end up winning. I was hoping (praying, actually) that Rocky, the awesome teenager next to me, would win because his family sacrificed their time at another park to be there for him; and if I won, it would take another 2-3 hours out of the day to prepare for the evening show. And I really just wanted to get on and enjoy the rest of the park with my family. So I’m really glad he won, and I’m sure it meant much more to him than it would have to me. But I was really glad I could participate as far as I did.
Please forgive me putting the entire performance in the video below. It was just really fun for me and I want to remember it. Skip it if you don’t want to hear the whole thing.
We also spent a day at the Kennedy Space Center, which was really interesting. I just love the Hubble Telescope and the incredible photos its taken. I was really excited to learn that they’re planning to launch a new and better telescope in 2013! Who knows what wonders we’ll discover.