Luxury Accomodation & Dining at Meliá Orlando Suite Hotel

Pool at Meliá Orlando

Dining consideration courtesy Experience Kissimmee.

During my last night in Florida, we headed to Meliá Orlando Suite Hotel for a quick tour and dinner. The hotel has been designed with luxury in mind, with art-inspired decor lending a nice ambiance to the experience.

Artwork at Meliá Orlando

Room at Meliá

We got a peek inside one of the rooms, which had a nice balcony view of the large pool below.


I felt like this pool was calling to me to sit down and relax with a Piña Colada!

Chairs poolside

After a tour around the building and a quick elevator selfie, we sat down for dinner!

Dinner at Meliá Orlando

Photo courtesy Experience Kissimmee.

After starting off with a selection of fabulous appetizers, we started in on the main course. I ordered a sumptuous steak cooked to perfection with potatoes and asparagus. They told us that the steak was so tender you could cut it with a fork, and they were right.

Delicious steak!

As you can see, the portion was massive, but although it pained me to leave food on my plate, I had to leave some space for dessert:

Decadent dessert

Beautifully presented and delicious – my only complaint is that I did not have more than one stomach with which to finish all of this food!

With Maria from Meliá Orlando

Striking a post with Maria from Meliá Orlando; photo courtesy Experience Kissimmee.

Before we left, we struck a pose in front of our limo with Meliá sales manager Maria. Everyone we met at Meliá had such a sense of fun and were all for jumping in our silly photos! I love it!

The Meliá Orlando Suite Hotel was a fabulous place to dine and certainly looks like a fun place to stay, too. I would happily eat another one of their steaks the next time I’m in the area!

For More Information:

Meliá Orlando Suite Hotel
225 Celebration Place
Orlando, Florida 34747
Phone: (407) 964-7000

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

Watching Ye Olde Joust at Medieval Times

Medieval Times

Photo courtesy Experience Kissimmee & Medieval Times.

Hear ye! Hear ye! My seat at this royal spectacle graciously given by ye friends at Experience Kissimmee, so that I might serve as your official scribe and bring news of the joust!

During my stay in Florida, I experienced another first when I visited a Medieval Times location. I’ve never been to one of these since they don’t have it in Oregon, but I had heard quite a bit about them. Medieval Times is like a combination dinner buffet/Las Vegas-style extravaganza, housed inside a faux castle and providing you with a show (very) loosely based on Medieval Spain.

One thing that makes the Orlando location unique is the fact that is has an “Authentic Medieval village”, their Medieval Life Museum. We only had time for a very quick tour before our show started – tours generally last 45 minutes – but we got a quick peek at the exhibits on hand. Apparently, the artifacts on display are a mixture of genuine and replica.

Blacksmith shop

Religious praise book

Pottery making

Fork making

Canopy bed


We were assured that the torture devices on display were just replicas….or were they?! Luckily, we didn’t get on their bad side and thrown into the blogger dungeon, so we didn’t find out. ;)

Torture chamber


After a quick peek around the museum, we headed inside the main “Castle” to sit down for the show. You are given special color-coded cards upon entry that lead you to a particular section in the arena. Each section has its own knight; we sat in the blue section, so we were given Burger King-style crowns and blue pennants to wave in support of the Blue Knight.

Blue Knight

Upon seating, a handmaiden appears to ask what kind of grog you’d like; I went for a Ye Olde Pepsi. In order to make it truly Medieval, no cutlery is provided – just a plate. The whole time, I thought about how much Jai would have loved this place, since he despises dishes and will tell you about how useless they are any chance he gets. Fortunately, for those of us who aren’t used to gnawing on a drumstick with our bare hands like Jai, wet naps are provided! I’m usually a bit prissy when it comes to this sort of thing, so it must have been entertaining watching me trying to eat a piece of chicken with my hands while simultaneously waving my pennant for the Blue Knight and trying to Instagram my dinner with greasy chicken hands. ;)

Food & grog

Food, grog, and ye olde moist towelette

Everyone gets the same meal (Unless you are vegetarian and request that dish), so it starts off with a bowl of soup and piece of bread. For the main course, you receive a seriously giant piece of chicken, a BBQ rib, and a potato wedge. For dessert, you receive an apple tart and coffee. The handmaiden walks down the line with a large tray and tongs, dispensing each new course onto the diners’ plates; it was a novel way to eat a meal! The chicken was pretty plain, but I thought the meal was adequate enough and certainly a million times better than what I would have eaten in 1100.

Chicken leg

Hey, YOU try taking a good photo in the dark with chicken grease on your hands!

While you eat, you are presented with a 2-hour show in the main arena, hosted by the Royal Court. The Knights gallop out on horseback and have a grand joust along with swordfighting and other grand theatrics; a hawk even flies over the audience at one point. They go all out staging a show with acting, lighting, animals, and stunts! You can check out my Instagram video of the action by clicking here.

Medieval Times procession

Royal court

Blue Knight receives a flower

Knights on horses

Medieval Times fight

I found Medieval Times to be a very one-of-a-kind experience and quite entertaining. I enjoyed myself and would return!

Hear Ye! Hear Ye! For More Information:

Medieval Times
4510 West Vine Street
Kissimmee, FL 34746
Phone: 1-866-543-9637

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Pinterest | Instagram

Our Wyndham Hotel Stay & Howard Johnson Happy Monday Deal Giveaway

I was provided 20,000 Wyndham Rewards points that covered a 1 night stay at their Days Inn & Suites Arcata California, (The Howard Johnson was full but the Days Inn is still a Wyndham property) during our road trip for our Spring Break vacation. My opinions are my own.


Howard Johnson hotels are all about making people happy, whether it’s providing an extra pillow or local dining suggestions during your trip. We had a great stay at our hotel and the people checking us in were so nice. That’s why they’re extending that feel-good vacation sensation to your everyday workweek and turning Monday “Blahs” Into Monday “Ahhhs” with their “Happy Monday” promotions! image

Happening throughout the year, their current offer is good for 35% off any trip completed before May 22nd, 2014. Whether you’re making plans to head out of town for university graduations, getting a head start on summer vacation, or just looking for an excuse to make a new memory – with competitive savings and over 350 hotels, Howard Johnson loves to make you smile! And don’t tell them that we jumped on the bed


I have stayed at a many a Howard Johnson over the years, they are the perfect hotel to stay at for a road trip. To redeem your points you have to either make a reservation on-line or over the phone. Over the internet your room isn’t guaranteed to be held because they want a credit card on file to hold the room. SO while I was on the road I made my call and they booked my room. We had a ton of fun on our adventure and loved having a place to stay overnight.

We loved having breakfast the following morning. image

Now the people at the Howard Johnson are also offering 20,000 points for one of you guys my readers.

Enter to Win:

20,000 points

To Enter:

Tell me where you might be going for vacation

Extra Entries:

Use the rafflecopter and leave a way for us to verify

a Rafflecopter giveaway

All Star Vacation Homes: Your Home Away From Home

All Star Vacation Home

Accommodations and travel courtesy Experience Kissimmee.

During my visit to Kissimmee, I had the pleasure of staying in an All Star Vacation Home in Acadia Estates. This was my first time staying in a vacation home like this with other bloggers, and it was a wonderful experience!

The sign on the door to my room!

The sign on the door to my room!

The home is spacious, beautifully decorated, and outfitted with a full kitchen and its very own game and entertainment room, which includes a projector, movie theater seats, and arcade games with unlimited plays.

Home theater

Pac-Man & air hockey!

My Pac-Man kept getting eaten by Blinky.

Fast And The Furious: Tokyo Drift

I made a hot pink car to race in this game!

If THAT doesn’t sell you on the home, then let me tell you about the bedrooms!

My All Star Vacation Home bedroom

My All Star Vacation Home bedroom

Pretty lamp in my bedroom

Spacious closet & flatscreen  TV

Spacious closet & flatscreen TV

My bedroom in Acadia Estates

My vacation home bathroom

My vacation home bathroom

All Star Vacation Home shower

Amenities at All Star Vacation Home

Cleansing bar

My bathroom included soaps, shampoo, conditioner and body lotion. Although I knew the home came stocked with starter paper supplies and towels, I wasn’t sure if it would include the same toiletries as a hotel; so I wanted to mention this for anyone who might have been wondering as I was! One less thing to carry in your luggage!

Each blogger got their own bedroom and bathroom, so there was no need to share a bathroom or wait in line during the morning to get ready. All our rooms were private with their own lock, so if we wanted to retire for the evening to go to sleep, we could do so; we could also choose to sit in the living areas to spend time together, which was so much more fun than any other blogger trip I’ve been on. Usually, on these kind of trips we all have our own hotel room, which limits the amount of time we can spend together. By all staying in the same house, we could plug our laptops in the common areas and get work done while still hanging out, eating a snack, or even doing laundry; we had SUCH a blast, and without compromising privacy, either.

Living area

Living area decor


Staircase to upstairs rooms

Decorative centerpiece

Computer area

A computer is provided on-site along with WiFi. The PC had a pretty old operating system, but naturally we all brought our own laptops being bloggers! Still, it got the job done for viewing our zip line photos since it was the only machine around with a CD drive!

Vacation home kitchen

Kitchen counter

Kitchen table

Place settings

Breakfast bar

Pretty napkin ring

The first night we arrived, we all got into our PJs after dinner and settled into the movie theater to watch the season finale of The Walking Dead. Other nights were spending chatting while we updated our blogs, looking at photos from the day’s activities, playing pool, and laughing! This is the single best way to spend time with friends on vacation, in my opinion.

Walking Dead viewing party

Walking Dead viewing party

The homes themselves are beautiful and modern, with keyless entry. The home also included a pool and hot tub, located right behind my bedroom, which afforded us a lovely scenic view of hot air balloons launching! We took advantage of the hot tub after zip lining, although we had trouble getting the temperature hot even after someone came out to adjust it – we didn’t have time to try it again, but the water might have needed more time to heat up! The only other issue I encountered was my shower curtain rod falling off the wall (Not while I was using it!), but we called maintenance and it was fixed right away. I noticed that water pooled on the floor every time I took a shower, but that seems to be a common problem I run into in modern hotel rooms – I think it has to do with the shower design.

Palm tree

I loved my experience staying in this All Star Vacation home and the next time I make it out to Florida, this is where I want to stay! The home I stayed at was 3 miles from Disney World, 10 miles from Sea World, and 13 miles from Universal Studios, so if you’re in town to hit up the attractions, this is a great location.

For More Information:

All Star Vacation Homes
Phone: (321) 281-4966
Website | Facebook | Twitter | Google+ | Pinterest

A Bears Visit To The LA Zoo #DisneynatureBears #MeetTheCubs @LAZoo

Last month I went to LA to visit with Disneynature and watch their new movie Bears. Which is a really cute story about a momma bear and her two cubs. It’s her job to help them survive their first year in life out in the wild as they journey to find the Salmon. You’ll love it and it should inspire you to visit your local zoo.

Did you know, the Disneynature movie Bears is coming out on Friday, this Friday? And if the movie doesn’t inspire you to go to the zoo maybe this will…IMG_1183

I had an opportunity to visit the LA Zoo in honor of the movie. The zoo gave us a tour that I took my Disneynature Bears plush on with me. We had an adventure together.


The Disney Store will contribute $1 to the NATIONAL PARK FOUNDATION for every BEARS plush purchased between now and 5/11/14. Get yours at and

We saw the otter:


And he was a little bit afraid of the Rhino


My buddy bear wanted to know what does the fox say? No really?

The Fox says

We braved the Carrousel.


Oh he really wanted to say hi to his kin, but I was afraid


We were very hungry and @MommyIsBusy (Andrew) caught a photo of us begging for Churros


It was a very quick visit to the LA Zoo but we were still tired and took a nap on the way back to our hotel.


Don’t forget to get your paws on one of the adorable plush Amber or Scout bears! In fact, The Disney Store will contribute $1 to the NATIONAL PARK FOUNDATION for every BEARS plush purchased between now and 5/11/14.


Bears opens Friday 4/18
Follow hashtags #DisneynatureBears and #MeetTheCubs


For More Info On The LA Zoo:


Gatorland: A Unique Florida Zoo

Large gator

All of my travel consideration was provided by Experience Kissimmee.

By now, you’ve read about my adventures at Gatorland getting an up-close-and-personal meeting with a variety of creatures and taking a thrill ride on the Screamin’ Gator Zip Line. But there is so much more to Gatorland than these activities – in addition, the facility boast a large, mostly-outdoor zoo that treats the visitor to some of the native landscape.

Gatorland observation tower

As you stroll along the paths facing swampy habitat, you can see a plethora of birds, gators, and other local wildlife. This observation tower provided a neat panoramic view:

Here’s a closeup of the nesting bird seen briefly in the video:

Nesting bird

As a avian lover, I really enjoyed seeing all of the different birds on the property!



Egret nest

It was interesting to see how nonchalant these birds were about the alligators:

Alligators and birds

Egret ventures near gators

Heron with a gator

And of course, what would a trip to Florida be without pink flamingos?

Pink flamingos

Naturally, at a park called “Gatorland”, you will find plenty of alligators:

Hitching a ride

But there are many other animals to see, like this cool cat:

The offspring of a Western Cougar & Florida Panther

This 175-pound cat is the offspring of a Western Cougar father and a Florida Panther mother. Florida Panthers are smaller than the cougars we get here in the Pacific Northwest, but clearly get much larger when bred with a typical mountain lion!

Funny goat

I also saw this very funny and bizarre looking goat, which we all agreed looks like one of the creatures from Star Wars!

Gator goodies

At the end of our visit, we were presented with these gift bags of “Gator Goodies” to remember our trip by – isn’t that the cutest? I love my plushie gator and think of my fun trip every time I sip coffee from my new mug. I saw these “Coconut Patties” everywhere when I was in Florida so it must be some sort of local tradition; they were indeed tasty!

There is so much on the Gatorland property to explore that I feel we barely even scratched the surface during our rush tour, from these zoo areas with local wildlife to shows to zip lines and even a small waterpark area! As someone visiting Florida for the first time, I loved the beautiful swampy landscape and could have easily spent a whole day just at Gatorland exploring all of the zoo attractions and other displays and experiences. It’s a great place to visit, especially for a tourist from out-of-state to get their jaws sunk into the Florida experience – alligator pun fully intended!

For More Information:

14501 South Orange Blossom Trail
Orlando, FL 32837
Hours: 10 AM to 5 PM, Monday through Sunday
Admission: $26.99 for adults; $18.99 for children ages 3-12; children under 3 admit free.

Gator Wrestlin’, Snake Handling & Other Florida Adventures

Our Gatorland guide!

Our Gatorland guide!

Thanks to Experience Kissimmee for providing all travel consideration.

One of my hopes for my first-ever trip to Florida was that I’d get a chance to take a photo with an alligator; so I was not disappointed when we arrived at Gatorland, known as “The Alligator Capital of The World”. After starting my visit with a heart-pounding ride on the Screamin’ Gator Zipline, we came back down to Earth and got up close and personal with some new friends!

Gator Wrestlin'

Gatorland is home to the Rookie Wrestlin’ experience, where you too can sit on an alligator for just $10. This was my chance to cross another item off my Florida bucket list!

Beeb wrestles a gator!

Beeb wrestles a gator!

After Rookie Wrestlin’ finishes, it’s time for the main Gator Wrestlin’ Show; or as they refer to it, “Cracker-style wrestling”. Oh, Florida!


Gator Wrestlin' Arena

The Gator Wrestlin’ Show is part alligator rodeo, part educational talk and part comedy skit. There were a lot of regional jokes poking fun at different parts of the state; when the trainer stuck his head into the alligator’s mouth, he prefaced it by saying: “The things we do in Florida for minimum wage…no, really!” One of the things I found entertaining about Greater Orlando is that it’s not really the deep South, per se, but they play up the “Southern Redneck” image for the tourists. I certainly couldn’t think of a more Florida way to start my first full day in the Sunshine State than by visiting Gatorland!


But that wasn’t the end of gator experiences by any means. We also got a VIP tour similar to the “Trainer For a Day” package that Gatorland offers, and one of the activities was getting up close and personal with Chester. We were taken into his pen and, with the door shut behind us, stood mere feet away from those jaws with no divider between us. After I came home, I learned just how famously aggressive Chester can be – there’s a number of videos online about good old Chester, including an episode of a reality show called “The Pet Psychic” (!!!), where his trainer comments that “Even getting close to him can be dangerous” (!!!!!!!).

My trip to Gatorland was an interesting lesson in fear in many ways. It struck me how I was so frightened of the zip line, but didn’t feel scared when I was in a pen with Chester. It just goes to show that sometimes our brains really aren’t that useful when it comes to the things that make us anxious. Fortunately, Chester didn’t eat us while we had our heads buried in our phones trying to Instagram photos of him. ;)

After we met Chester, we were introduced to a rare leucistic alligator for a photo-op:

Me with a leucistic alligator!

Me with a leucistic alligator!

Leucistic alligators are somewhat akin to albino alligators, except they have blue eyes and some variation in coloring. They are rare, as you can imagine, with this guy being one of about 14 in the world. Our tour guide told us the legend that if you look into this alligator’s eyes and make a wish, it’ll come true, so I made eye contact on my way out. What I wished for is between me and the gator. ;)

But there are many, many more creatures at Gatorland than just its namesake animal. We got to meet some of the stars of the Upclose Encounters Show – behold, the photo that gave everyone on my Facebook friends list fits:

Beeb holds a snake

Yes, that’s me holding a giant snake! Snake don’t bother me so it was no big deal. I apologize if you have now lit your monitor on fire.

Snake handling

Honestly, my only worry was making sure I didn’t poke the snake on accident – I wasn’t worried for me!

Melissa does her best "Britney at the VMAs" impression

Melissa does her best “Britney at the VMAs” impression

Strangely, no one was anxious to cuddle with this little guy:



I was proud of Kristy, who has major arachnophobia, for being so brave and holding the tarantula:

Kristy holds a tarantula

Kristy holds a tarantula

If you haven’t thrown your monitor out the window yet, here are photos of some cute little guys to make you feel better!

Blue-Tongued Skink

His tongue matches Meredith’s nail polish!

This is a Blue-Tongued Skink!

Bearded dragon

Bearded dragon gets ready for his closeup!

This Bearded Dragon was a sweetie!

Gatorland truly packed an incredible amount of experiences into our short visit – and I haven’t even shown you the rest of the park/zoo, which I will save for another article so that you aren’t scrolling for miles and miles!

For More Information:

14501 South Orange Blossom Trail
Orlando, FL 32837
Hours: 10 AM to 5 PM, Monday-Sunday
Admission: $26.99 for adults, $18.99 for children ages 3-12; children under 3 admit free.
Rookie Wrestling: $10 (Photo not included)
“Trainer For a Day” Experience: $125
Website | Facebook | Twitter | Foursquare

4 Cities You’ll Pay a Bundle to Visit

This post is brought to you by Annie Davis.

It’s hardly breaking news that New York City is the most expensive place to visit in the United States. TripAdvisor even ranked it fourth in the world for the most expensive night out. While American tourists know what they’re getting into when they visit the Big Apple, there are other cities around the country that can also cost travelers a bundle. Here are a few.

Orlando, Fla.

Two words: Disney tickets. Single park admission for adults is slowly creeping toward $100, meaning a family of four pays almost $400 just to get into one park. That doesn’t include food, souvenirs, water, and other miscellaneous park purchases. Even if a family decides to skip the happiest place on earth in favor of Universal Studios or SeaWorld, tickets will still cost them hundreds of dollars. The flights and hotels might be decently priced, but once families arrive their wallets are in pain. 

Nashville, Tenn.

Nashville is considered heaven on Earth for country music lovers, but the music rarely comes cheap. Attending concerts throughout your vacation can quickly add up. For some visitors, standing a few feet from their country music idol is worth every penny, but it’s just going to take a lot of pennies to get there.

In order to spend responsibly when traveling, consider buying VIP tickets to one show while looking for discounts and staying further back at others. All the concerts will be great, but you’ll have one that sticks in your memory forever. 

New Orleans, La.

While this city might not be costly all year long, there’s a certain week in the spring where prices skyrocket. Visitors will pay considerably more for flights and hotels during Mardi Gras than during the rest of the year because of the increased demand.

Plus, the costs don’t stop once travelers reach their destination, because that’s when the drinking begins. After a few mixed drinks, it’s easy to forget how much you’ve spent – and that’s usually when you start buying entire rounds. Only the wise can travel to New Orleans without going over budget.

Monterey, Calif.

If you’re looking to skip the bustle of San Francisco or Los Angeles, you might consider finding an Alamo rental car near you and taking a road trip down coast. The Pacific Coast Highway is regularly named one of the top road trips in the United States, and with breathtaking views of the Pacific Ocean, it’s not hard to see why.

However, the journey to Monterey is paved with expenses. California is one of the most expensive states to visit, no matter where you are, and taking a road trip with current gas prices will slowly siphon dollars out of your pocket. Make sure your rental car gets good gas mileage before you hit the road.

Just because a city is expensive doesn’t mean travelers should avoid it. It just means they need to be realistic about their budgets before they leave. An ounce of preparation is worth a pound of cure, and that pound of cure translates into cold, hard cash.

Rock Your Vacation at The All Star Vacation Dream Home!

Rock Your Vacation in Style!

All travel courtesy Experience Kissimmee.

As you may recall, last week I participated in the #RockYourVacation Twitter party, hosted on-site at the luxury All Star Vacation Home that the grand prize winner will get to stay at. Last month, 8 finalists were selected in the #RockYourVacation video contest and are now in the running to win a once-in-a-lifetime vacation. As you’ve seen from my posts so far, my vacation in Kissimmee was phenomenal, so I’m very excited for the grand prize winner! Here’s a sneak peek at the dream home where the winner will be spending 6 days and 5 nights:

Bedroom #1

Bedroom #2

This home has 9 bedrooms and 9 bathrooms, so the winning family won’t be stepping on each other’s toes and fighting over who gets to shower first!

Bedroom #3


For the kiddos, there are two fun bedrooms with Toy Story and Despicable Me themes:

Toy Story bedroom

Despicable Me bedroom

And for the big kid in all of us, this home boasts the world’s coolest game room:

Darth Vader game room

Luke Skywalker wall

That’s right, this home has a Star Wars-themed game room! But it gets better:

Star Wars home theater

Princess Leia wall motif

This plush home theater has an LED “Star” ceiling that glows when you turn off the light. Is that not the coolest way to watch a movie?

It was fun getting to nosey around the home and seeing what the grand prize winner will be experiencing! And now that you’ve gotten a peek into the home, it’s time to cast your vote for who YOU think deserves this vacation of a lifetime! Just visit to vote daily via Facebook for your favorite videos. Each vote enters you for a chance to win a pair of Beats by Dre headphones, so make sure to return every day until voting closes on April 20th!

Flying Over Alligators on The Screamin’ Gator Zip Line

Ready for the Screamin' Gator Zipline!

Photo courtesy Experience Kissimmee.

Travel consideration (And adrenaline rush) provided by Experience Kissimmee!

On my first full day in Florida, we started off bight and early by heading over to Gatorland. I couldn’t think of a better way to start my Florida experience! As would become a theme on this trip, we began the morning by heading straight to the thrill ride: The Screamin’ Gator Zipline, which is the world’s tallest, fastest zipline. Oh yeah, and its track goes over GIANT GATORS. Who needs coffee in the morning when you have a jolt of adrenaline courtesy a zip line course over gators?

The ironic part is that prior to this trip, I always swore I wouldn’t go ziplining. In fact, a couple of years ago I remember commenting on another blogger’s post from a trip to Kissimme where they wrote about riding the Screamin’ Gator Zipline, and I remember saying something along the lines of, “Wow, that’s so cool that you did that, but I would never be brave enough to do it!” Well, never say never, because here we are!

I thought carefully before deciding to go on this trip if I’d want to do the ziplining experience. Of course, nothing was mandatory and it was my choice if I decided to participate or not. After thinking about it, I realized it would be silly not to. I am not a thrill-seeker in the slightest, and I do not like heights, so part of me wondered if it was going to end up like that South Park episode “I Should Have Never Gone Ziplining”. But because I am so uptight and anxious, I thought it would be a good challenge for me, and this whole trip ended up being about challenging myself, facing fears, and personal growth.

So to get started, we watched a safety video, talked to our guides about the rules and got strapped into a harness and helmet. As we approached the zip line tower, I didn’t feel nervous at all. We walked up many flights of stairs and I felt totally fine! And then, I saw the platform we had to jump off and how high we were – THEN I felt the fear!

I was terrified during the first zip line course I did. What was hilarious is that all the other girls posed for fun photos in the air, courtesy our zip line photographer – no cameras are allowed on your person on the zip line and with very good reason, there is no way you could hold on to them and you do not need any distractions up there. Look at how happy and cute these girls are:

(All zip line photos provided courtesy Gatorland)

Melissa on the zip line

Cher on the zip line

Rochelle on the zip line

And then there’s me:


Clinging on for dear life

The guide actually said to me, “You were the only one who didn’t put your hands up for the photo!”. I was thinking, hey lady, it’s enough that I’m even doing this – don’t ask me to be photogenic too! ;)

I could feel my legs shaking as we walked up the tower to do the second zip line. The thing that most scared met was the fact that you strap your own harness on, and I was scared that I might have done it wrong or affixed the straps incorrectly. I asked my guide and she reassured me that she was watching me the whole time and can tell by looking at me that it’s all right, because she’s done it for so long – and of course, they do a quick visual inspection every time you launch. The second zip was still really scary, but hearing that made me feel a lot better.

By the third zip, I had gotten comfortable with it and was proud of myself for facing the fear. “I got this!” I thought to myself. “The next one will be easy!” And then….I saw the bridge.

I knew that there was a wooden bridge to pass, but I didn’t really think about what it would look like. I wasn’t expecting this rickety, Indiana-Jones-style dangling bridge with every other step missing. Especially petrifying was the fact that they only hook up one of your harness ties, rather than both as they do on the other courses, and the one they hook up is not the super-duper-reinforced-safe-one. You are affixed to the side of the bridge, rather than above as on the others, so I was terrified as to what would happen if I fell. The bridge shook terribly if I tried to move fast, and I had to keep my eyes down on the abyss or I would miss my step. It was so scary and marked the very first time that I have ever sworn out loud on a press trip. (In my defense, I was not the only one!) It would also not be the last time I swore, since I let out the same expletive a few days later on the Sky Coaster, but that’s a whole other story!

But you know what was cool about the bridge? When I first started across, I was so scared, but by the time I was halfway across, it wasn’t as bad as when I began. That’s what facing a fear is like: It’s so awful to start, but then you acclimate. And that’s why I wanted to do this zip line: To face fears. I was really proud of myself! A lot of my friends on the trip said that the anticipation was the worst part, but I disagree, because I actually found doing it to be even scarier than thinking about it. ;)

After the death bridge of doom, we had one zip left, which was a zip line race over swampy, gator-filled water. After all the scary things we did, this seemed like nothing so it was super fun! My leg of the race was journalists versus PR as I zipped against Rochelle from Experience Kissimmee, who you saw in one of the photos above looking so graceful!

The Screaming Gator Zipline was an experience I will remember for the rest of my life. I am the least thrill-seeking person on the planet, but now I can boast a photo like this:

Beeb ziplines over gators!

Beeb ziplines over gators!

It was very memorable, very Florida, and on a personal level I felt like it challenged me to do something that provided a valuable experience about facing fears for other areas of my life. I had an unforgettable time with my friends and by the end of it, I even had fun. And I would actually do it again, which is really saying something!

Gatorland is home to so much more than just the Screamin’ Gator Zip Line – I’ll be sharing my other Gatorland adventures in coming posts, so keep an eye peeled for that!

For More Information:

14501 South Orange Blossom Trail
Orlando, FL 32837

Screamin’ Gator Zip Line Admission: $69.99 – includes all day admission to Gatorland. Reservations required – click here for more information & to book online.