Disney World

Halloween 2015: Living Dead Girl

Halloween is 11 days away!  What the hell happened to September and October?  Ready or not, we leave for our annual Halloween trip to Orlando in 3 days, maybe 4 if we decide to put together some extra costume props.  Between costume anxiety, travel prep, a flu shot today, and a busy local Homecoming week for Landon, I feel like Rob Zombie’s “Living Dead Girl”.  So this will kind of be a Halloween free for all.  My brain is like a bag of crazy cats right now.  Or bag of crazy dicks.  Or whatever that saying is.  One of my three regular readers can let me know.

The kids and E revolted on me this year and said no makeup, they wanted “easy” costumes to wear to Disney World’s Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party, which we’ll attend the night of October 29th.  I don’t know what they all were bitching about because last year’s costumes were about as no fuss as you can get.


Okay, 4 hours total of makeup and 7 inch monster boots might have been a bit much.  It still made the most epic Christmas card photo ever.

A few people know what we are dressing up as this year, most people don’t.  I’ll post a picture on Facebook and Twitter (again on October 29th), so be on the lookout for it.

I have extreme anxiety about this year’s costumes because I have gained some weight in the past year but it is what it is.  If you’re watching CNN late next week and hear about an arrest made at Walt Disney World, though, that will be me because if one little snot nosed Cheerio muncher asks “Mommy, why is (insert character name here) fat?”, I’m going to lose my shit.

I had to take my very form fitting costume into the Vietnamese tailors for a little fix last week.  You may recall how that went last year.  It went really well this year, meaning I didn’t get laughed at in a different language.  I guess “normal” costumes give you a lot more leeway with Vietnamese tailors than star spangled rock leotards do.

I’m trying to look past all the costume anxiety, frantic packing, and lack of sleep to just look forward to the events we’ll be attending.  This will be our 6th year attending both Universal Orlando’s Halloween Horror Nights (and it’s the 25th Anniversary, which will make it even more epic) and Disney World’s Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party.

Halloween in Orlando is like nothing else and I’m not the only one who thinks so.  Horror Nights Orlando has been named the best Halloween event in the world the past 7 years by the people over at The Golden Ticket Awards.  Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party is the perfect place to go if you have younger children.  It is also the only amusement park which allows costumes and that’s one of the reasons this party has become a tradition for us.  Here’s a little inside look at both of this year’s events.

I was telling E and Gracie that in the second room in the HHN 25 Years Of Mayhem And Monsters House, if you enter chanting “Bear! Bear! Bear!”, the infamous HHN bear would make an appearance.  Gracie thought for a moment and then said, “Like… a real bear?”  This is my National Honor Society student, y’all.  I told her, “Yeah, Universal got sick of crap being said about the house not being scary enough so they said ‘Oh, it isn’t scary enough?  Screw you, we’ll put a live bear in there.  See how you like that, suckers!’  Yes, I really said it like that because Gracie was in the room but y’all know what I really said in my head.

I hope your week is going well!  I’ll leave you with “Living Dead Girl”, which also happens to be one of my most favorite Halloween songs.

You Wanted The Best, You Got The Best…

If you’re friends with me on Facebook, you know what my family dressed as for the Mickey’s Not So Haunted Halloween Party last night.  For the rest of you, and also because I suck at Twitter, here are the pictures from last night.

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I’ll do a full write up with all the details of this fabulous night next week after I sleep for two days straight.  It was an awesome night, I don’t even have words right now to sum it up.  We were stopped countless times by people wanting pictures with us.  We met some fantastic Kiss fans.  There are so many stories from the night, I hope to be able to put them into words for y’all next week.

Have a Happy Halloween, y’all!  Be safe out there.

This Is Halloween, The Finale

We made it to the end!  Well, maybe.  I can’t know for sure if you’re going to read the whole post but I’ll give you the benefit of doubt.  If you read till the end, there will be prizes and confetti and strippers.  Okay, that’s a lie.  I’m sorry.

Welcome to the last installment of This is Halloween.  This series has covered each year we have spent Halloween Week in Orlando.  Here’s the recap of 2013.  This was the 4th year we went to Universal and Disney World for all the Halloween festivities.

The following video of Halloween Horror Nights 2013 only covers the scare zones, not the houses.  And of course, I don’t expect you to watch a 10 minute video but you can fast forward through it to get a good feel of the theme for 2013.  If you’re a Walking Dead fan, you’ll love it.  2013 scare zones were all Walking Dead, all the time.  I don’t watch the show but I did recognize most of the iconic backdrops.

I did not go through any houses that year, something I really regret now.  At the time, though, I felt like shit.  I would find out the next day at the emergency clinic that I had bronchitis.  Not fun.

If I had it to do over again, I would go through two houses that year – American Werewolf In London and Cabin In The Woods.

I remember as a teenager thinking that American Werewolf was the best horror movie of all time and the special effects for 1981 were mind blowing.  Cabin In The Woods is my favorite modern horror movie.  One of my favorite movies of all time from any genre is Army of Darkness.  AoD bridged the distance between horror and comedy in a way I had never seen before.  Cabin wasn’t that campy but it had just enough humor to make you almost forget it was a pretty gnarly horror movie and in that way, it reminded me a lot of AoD.

There aren’t a lot of pictures from that night, as E and Landon split off to do the houses.  Gracie and I did our best to hide from the zombies on the streets and were mostly successful.  I mainly spent my time feeling up Lard Lad while Gracie took pictures.  That’s the kind of Mom I am.

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For Mickey’s Not So Haunted Halloween Party, we decided to tackle all new Harry Potter characters, except for Harry Potter, of course.  Landon was The Chosen One himself, Gracie made an awesome Luna Lovegood and could even talk exactly like her, E was Mad-Eye Moody, and I was Bellatrix Lestrange.  Again, not many pictures were taken because I had bronchitis and the antibiotics hadn’t kicked in yet.  It was still a great night.  E was the most popular character this time around and was stopped a few times by people asking to get a  picture with him.

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Did I mention I had bronchitis?  Because I did.  I’m a trooper like that.

Thank you for sharing these memories with me!  I will upload a picture of us in costume sometime in the late afternoon/early evening hours right here on the blog on October 30th so check back often that day.  Get your finger limbered up for the refresh button.  If you want to save your finger from refresh button fatigue, follow me and you’ll get an email message every time I post a blog.  Or, if you prefer, I can post my blog link to your Facebook wall every hour on the hour.  Your choice.  Personally, I’d just hit the damn little blue “Follow” button somewhere on this page and be done with it.

We’ve had a few snags this week in the costume prep department but I think it will still all come together in spectacular fashion.  Have a great weekend, y’all, and Happy Halloween Week!  Be safe out there.

Not Lost In Translation

Halloween is 11 days away, we leave for Orlando in 5 days, and I had a pretty major costume malfunction last night.  Let’s just say that a project I elected to do myself on my costume, which should have been a simple DIY, went horribly wrong.  I had to take the main piece of the costume to our tailor to be fixed today.

For reference, our tailor shop consists of an older, married Vietnamese couple.  We have taken many items to them, from dresses for our cruises to pants to be tailored for E and Landon.  They definitely recognize me due to my hair color and I’m pretty sure they’d remember E if he went back in.  They always have the shop television tuned to a Vietnamese channel.  I didn’t even know those were available in Alabama.  Anyway, they always talk to each other in Vietnamese, which has never bothered me until today.

I was already a little embarrassed to take the item in to be fixed.  It’s kind of silly but as I was driving there, I determined that I’d be very detached about the whole thing, like it wasn’t even mine.  Here’s what went down, described in the vaguest possible way so I don’t give away the costume theme, which is a surprise.

Me (placing the item on the counter and for all the embarrassment I felt, it may as well have been my own personal panties):  I tried to iron these on with adhesive but they keep popping up when worn.

Man Tailor says nothing but glares at them while poking them down, somehow thinking they’ll stay for him.  Valiant but useless to me at this point.

Me:  Could you sew them on?  So they’ll stay down when worn?

Man Tailor:  You did this?  

Me:  Yes.  

Tailor Man pokes at them a bit more angrily, then turns to his wife, Tailor Woman, says something in Vietnamese, and shows her my screw up.  Tailor Man and Woman discuss my costume predicament for a minute and Tailor Woman starts laughing.  Then Tailor Man starts laughing.  Tailor Man starts stretching the garment and they laugh harder.

Me (weakly):  It’s a Halloween costume.  We’re going as XYZ.  To Disney World.

Tailor Woman:  Honey, not worth it.  Too much money.  

Tailor Man (putting the garment back on the counter between us and looks at it with disdain):  Too much.  Not worth it.

Me:  Well, can it be done?  

Tailor Man:  Have to sew around here.

Me:  Yes, I know.  That’s what I want.  How much will it cost?  

Tailor Man:  You sure?

Me:  Yes.

Tailor Man (pokes at one in particular): $7.

Me:  $7 each?

Tailor Man (Pokes at each one of them now, doing the math):  $7, $14, $21.

Me:  Okay, so $21?

Tailor Man:  $20 fine.  You sure?!

Me:  Yes, I really need this!  When can I pick it up?

Tailor Man:  You sure?

Me:  Yes!

Tailor Man:  Tomorrow, same time.

Me:  Okay, see you then.

Tailor Woman says something to Tailor Man and they both refrain from giggling but barely.

Tailor Man (holding up the garment):  Is this yours?

Me:  Nope.  It’s my husbands.

I learned two valuable lessons today.  First, laughter and mockery don’t need to be translated, people.  Secondly, I will not hesitate to throw you under the bus to save face at the tailor shop.  I’m not sure what that says about me but there it is.  I have a feeling E will find another tailor to alter his next pair of pants.

Final installment of my Orlando Halloween series will happen maybe later tonight or maybe tomorrow or someday.  It’s crazy busy and I had to get laughed at in Vietnamese today.  Cut me some slack, y’all.  Hope you had a great Monday!

This Is Halloween, Part Three

Welcome back to my Halloween series, where I recap each year we have traveled to Orlando for Halloween Week!  If you’re catching up, you can see Part One here and Part 2 here.

2012 is my favorite year so far for Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party but first, let’s cover Halloween Horror Nights (HHN) at Universal Studios.  Here’s what it looked like:

I don’t typically go through the haunted houses because I actually believe the best scares don’t originate in blood and guts.  I think true terror is in the mind.  The most disturbing horror movie I’ve ever seen, that still haunts me to this day, is The Mothman Prophecies.  No blood.  No guts.  But it fucks with your mind.  I’m a horror snob.  Okay, fine, I’m a pussy but I just don’t like the cheap thrill of slasher films.

When I started reading the buzz surrounding an independent concept house for HHN 2012, I knew I had to see it.  It called to me just like the Edgar Allan Poe house had the year before.  It was called Gothic.  I’ll let one of the reviews I read by Inside The Magic sum it up for me.

“The most immersive, detailed, and impressive maze at Halloween Horror Nights 22, Gothic surrounds its visitors with room after room of rich environments with an incredible level of realism. The setting is an old cathedral, now under renovation, much to the dismay of the spirits that haunt the location. Those spirits all arrive in the form of gargoyles, guarding the cathedral by day and haunting it by night.

The sheer size of the sound stage-based maze is staggering. With two- to three-story individual rooms, guests find themselves looking up and around as the architecture serves as an excellent misdirection away from the lurking gargoyles. This house is also packed with unique moments, including several overhead flying creatures, a wonderfully surprising stilt walker, and two of the most beautiful and inventive scenes ever created at Halloween Horror Nights. One tricks the eye into feeling like guests are standing high above a huge church, looking down on its altar and pews, while the other utilizes hundreds of candles that extinguish in sequence leading up to a surprise moment.”

So once again, I paid Landon $5 and he went in ahead of me, my fingers securely hooked around his belt loops as per our tradition, screaming my head off.  This is what we saw.

I wish the video could have captured the part where it looked like you were walking very high up over the church, pews and altar below.  Everything about this house was beautiful, if a haunted house can be called that.

An hour later, we were walking through another section of the park and I noticed the couple who had went through the house in front of me and Landon.  They were pointing and laughing at me.  I didn’t realize I was that much of a handful going through the houses but I’m giving Landon a raise.  He gets $10 for dealing with me holding onto his belt loops, cowering behind him and screaming in his ear this year.

Here are some pictures from HHN 2012.

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Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party (MNSSHP) 2012 is my favorite year so far because our costumes kicked ass.  I won’t even attempt to be all coy and shit.  We kicked every other family there in the ass.  Repeatedly.

Seriously, Landon stole the show as Uncle Fester, Gracie was an amazing Wednesday and E and I didn’t do too bad with our roles as Morticia and Gomez.  It was the most fun we’ve had so far.  We got stopped numerous times by people requesting pictures with us.  Landon hammed it up with his light bulb that really worked.  E had Thing on his shoulder along with the necessary Gomez cigar (it was fake).

There are downfalls to awesomeness sometimes, though.  On Thunder Mountain and Space Mountain, I had to scream repeatedly “Hold on to your wigs!”  Thing almost flew off of E’s shoulder while we were riding Space Mountain.  Gracie was sitting behind him and caught it.  Even with all the near costume malfunctions, these are my favorite costumes so far.  I proposed we make it our yearly costumes but was vetoed by the family.  After this year’s costumes, they may be begging to return to The Addams Family.

Here are some pictures from MNSSHP 2012.

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One more year, y’all!  Thanks for sticking with me.  I will cover 2013 later this week.  2014 costume preparations are fast and furious.  I can’t let myself think about it or I’ll panic.  It’ll be epic.  I can’t wait.

Do you like haunted houses?  Does your town have an annual Halloween event with houses or trails?  Tell me in the comments!  Also, tell me what horror movie still fucks with you to this very day.  C’mon.  I showed you mine.  Now you show me yours.

This Is Halloween, Part One

My family loves Halloween.

This is usually exactly when the person I’m talking to or chatting with on Facebook says/writes “Oh, we do, too!”

No.  You don’t understand the level of our Halloween craziness.  Your $50 worth of 100% real juice fruit snacks for the neighborhood rug munchers (I once called toddlers that and my friend Lucinda immediately started laughing and informed me that I was using the wrong term but I’m sticking with “rug munchers”, damn it) and traditional delightful kitty cat costume isn’t really the same thing.  Bless your heart.

We used to live in a gated community in Texas where lots of young families lived.  Halloween was fun and festive and busy.  We’d answer our door and give the little rug munchers candy (not that fruit shit, damn it, it’s Halloween, people!) for about an hour, then we’d leave the huge bowl of future diabetes and death on our porch and the Honor System would reign while we took our kids around the neighborhood for their turn at the chocolate.  Or fruit snacks.  Bastards.

When we moved to Alabama, we chose an older home in an older neighborhood.  Newsflash:  80 year olds don’t like to trick or treat.  Our first Halloween here sucked.  It sucked so bad I think I would’ve taken those fruit snacks.

As the next Halloween was barreling down on us, I looked into going out of town, specifically to Disney World for their annual Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party.  This after hours, ticketed event happens during select nights in September and October and families are encouraged to dress up in costume.

I also discovered during that time that Universal Orlando was celebrating the 20th anniversary of Halloween Horror Nights.  It is also an after hours, ticketed event held on select nights in September and October.  Costumes are not allowed due to their Scare Actors, haunted houses, etc.

Our first year at Halloween Horror Nights (HHN) couldn’t have been better due to the 20th anniversary.  They brought several of the marquee “bad guys” back from previous years in celebration and it was mind blowing.  We had found our people.

Here are some pictures from our first HHN.  We really didn’t take that many because we were so overwhelmed by the event.

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Our first Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party (MNSSHP) was also quite the event but much more family friendly.  We decided it would be more fun to go in themed costumes so with the popularity of Alice In Wonderland that year, we went with it.

Landon initially refused to be the Mad Hatter so we called a family conference.  I talked to Gracie beforehand and told her that we were going to offer him $20 to go as the Mad Hatter.  She was all in.  He rejected our $20 bribe and Gracie immediately slapped her hand on the coffee table and said “Okay, 50 bucks”! without consulting us.  He agreed to the $50, E and I noted that Gracie was a really shitty negotiator and have since elected not to include her in any costume bribery.

Landon turned out to be the hit of the night.  There were a few other Mad Hatters but none better than he was.  He stole the show from all of us (and that wasn’t the last time he “stole” our Disney thunder but more on that in Part 2) and he enjoyed every single minute of it.  Here are a few pics from that night.

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We have returned for both events ever since.  This will be our fifth year of celebrating Halloween week in Orlando and we are just as excited for it as we were the first time.

This year’s costumes are a secret and there have already been a few incorrect guesses from friends on Facebook.  I will reveal the costumes, with us in them, on October 30th, the night we attend the MNSSHP.

This will be our most epic year ever for costumes but before I get too far ahead of myself, I will be doing blog posts on each year we’ve attended the events and also include pictures of all our past costumes.

Stay tuned!  And return those 100% real juice fruit snacks to Walmart.  I mean it.

Amusement Park Rides: You’re Doing It Wrong!

My family goes to Universal Studios Orlando and Disney World every Halloween because we can combine two of our favorite things, amusement parks and Halloween.  We also visited Universal Orlando this past Memorial Day because we had season passes but Halloween is definitely our favorite time to go.

I would like to think we’re amusement park veterans by now but I am deeply saddened.  It has come to my attention recently that I am doing this whole amusement park thing wrong, especially when it comes to those keepsake ride photos.

This is our last souvenir photo from our May trip.  We were riding the Forbidden Journey at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter.  We had talked about it beforehand and after a couple misfires, we thought we had our shit together.  We were all going to make funny faces, whatever felt right at the moment.  And quit looking at my chunky legs.  I’ve lost almost 13 pounds since then, damn it.


E has the thumbs up thing down along with the crazed Jack Nicholson look.  Gracie looks like she’s deep into the weed.  All that’s missing is a bag of Flamin’ Hot Cheetos.  Landon almost got the thumbs up right but we’ll settle for side thumbs.  I knew this picture was coming up, we’ve been on this ride dozens of times.  It’s one of our favorite rides in the park yet I can’t even manage to look at the camera.  I’m the slow one in the family.  Please use small words and refrain from sudden movements around me.

There is hope for our Halloween trip and time to improve our keepsake photo game.  Check out these inspirations and my new heroes, from the Disney Splash Mountain ride photos.  Old people with bad eyesight (I’m looking at you, E), you can click on the pictures to make them bigger.

Oh dear God, the humanity!!!

Where the hell is my horoscope?

Where the hell is my horoscope?

Checkmate, mother fucker.

Checkmate, mother fucker.

Same guys from the chess picture, a different year.  They are either too epic to be true or really need girlfriends.

Hey, chess game.  Connect Four and Jenga kicked your highbrow, uppity ass!

Enough is enough! I have had it with these motherfucking snakes on this motherfucking Disney ride!

Enough is enough! I have had it with these motherfucking snakes on this motherfucking Disney ride!

Proving that beer pong can be played anywhere.  Also, they may need a 12 Step Program.

Proving that beer pong can be played anywhere. Also, they may need a 12 Step Program.

Oh, I smell what you got cookin', Rock.

Oh, I smell what you got cookin’, Rock.

One group of friends, three different years.  Someone find them now.  They are my new BFFs.

One group of friends, three different years.  They need girlfriends.  Like yesterday.  Someone find these dudes because they are my new BFFs.

And my absolute favorite:

Clockwise and harder, Brad!

Clockwise and harder, Brad!  Harder, damn it!

Up your amusement park photo games, people!  I expect pictures.  Hope you’re having a great week and thanks for stopping by.