Sunday, June 29, 2008

Staycation: PH & CDS

This year it didn't work out that we could take our normal family vacation. We usually spend some time in Indiana and then either Tennessee or North Carolina. With everyone on different work schedules and gas [not to mention the economy] being what it is we opted to take a staycation rather than a vacation. [As in stay Florida and do some day trips...]

We'd wanted to see Cirque Du Soleil for years and decided that this would be the time to finally do it. Tickets with our AAA discount were reasonable and so last Wednesday we made a day of it.

After a late breakfast the family piled into my "Jack Cartermobile" and headed to Orlando to hit some of the shopping outlets. On the way over we got caught in one of the worst storms that I've ever driven in. Lighting was striking all around, rain was coming down in washtubs and visibility was nil -- then it started to hail! Lucklily the storm passed after just a few minutes and we continued on. Years ago, when the outlets were truly discount shops, we'd drive over on a pretty regular basis. Now you really have to get lucky to find a real bargain since most of the shops are tourist traps. Chris and Mike scored a couple of t-shirts and the Queen found some sort of bags that keep fruit and vegetables longer in the "As Seen on TV" store.

We decided to go to Planet Hollywood for dinner before Cirque Du Soleil. The Orlando Planet Hollywood has always been my favorite due to it's location and unusual design. We hadn't been there in a few years, so we were all looking forward to it. I'm happy to say that none of us were disappointed. The menu has been updated a bit, but we were still able to get our "Cap'N Crunch" chicken appetizer [they call it something else, but that's what it is] and it was as tasty as we remembered. Dinner was even better. Mike and I opted for BBQ bacon burgers, Chris had the Philly cheesesteak, and the Queen had a spinach salad. Everyone thought that their meal was the best and no one left hungry. On the way out, we swung through the gift shop so I could score a t-shirt [see the design in the photo above], and then it was off to the circus... literally.

We were really lucky in that we were seated in the second row from the stage. At first I was concerned that we might be too close to the action and get stiff necks from looking up, but that wasn't the case mainly due to the amount of action going on everywhere! And once the show starts it doesn't let up. If you've ever seen Cirque Du Soleil on television and been impressed you can just begin to imagine what it's like to see the performers live and so close you could literally [at least from our seats] reach out and touch them.

Everything about the show is amazing. You probably already know how awe-inspiring the acts are, but until you see the show live, you don't realize how well designed the sets and stage are. Or how the special effects and live music work to change the moods of each performance. Looking back, it's also crazy to think that once the show started there were no words spoken and it never felt like we were watching traditional acts in a "circus." The time flew by and I left wanting more; not because I didn't get my money's worth, but because I was having such a great time. The Queen and kids felt the same. We'll definitely go back.

After the show we walked around Downtown Disney. The crowds weren't too bad and the night was just the right temperature to make trips to the Virgin MegaStore and other shops enjoyable. The drive home was filled with laughter and talk about what a great day it had been... we didn't even complain about the storm.

If only every day could be so perfect.


Anonymous said...

sounds like a great time...good for you...

staycation...I like going to use that.......

jack cartermoble? please explain?


Craig Zablo said...

MT - I drive a Hyundai XG350. When I first got it, I was teasing Beatty that it was the same model that Jack Carter drove. Since then, that's what we call it.

Thanks for your post!