|October: Flew up to Columbus, OH for a quick business trip. It was the smoothest business travel I've had yet. What a welcome change.
I did not get to see the Blood Moon due to overcast skies, boo.
Zipped down to Busch Gardens with pirategirleee for our yearly Howl-o-scream romp. We rode all the rides (that didn't scare us too badly and one that scared me so badly, I cried: Mach Tower), ate all the food, watched all the shows, and laughed through all the haunted houses. Unfortunately, we both go horrifically sick (me, sinuses and her, GI) and cut our trip short by a day. Alas.
However, the local haunted attraction bacchanal started right up and included a first time visit to Cox Farm's Fields of Fear and Paxton Manor. Was delighted to discover that the beau enjoys haunted houses almost as much as I do.
More dental woe: due to all of the root canals and new crowns and tooth pain, I was unable to wear my retainers for a couple of months. This cascaded down to making my teeth shift which then meant I needed new retainers. Wheeee. Another $500 I didn't need...
I took the Beetle in for its first yearly check-up and did not buy a new car. I count that as a win.
I dyed my hair pinky purple and then overdyed it with a blue-ish purple. I was much happier with the darker tone.
And then came the super busy weekend which kicked off one of the best weeks of my life. The beau and I participated in the Blood and Guts Zombie run at Bull Run Regional Park. It was my first ever 5k and, aside from this past May's Tour de Fat, the beau's first any-kind-of-group-exercise thing. The day was absolutely gorgeous, also the mud was chilly and there was SO MUCH mud. The beau even walked around one of the mudholes that I crawled through and I chastised him pretty badly for it. He made up his man points by scaling one of the walls without using any footholds, so there's that.
That evening, we attended a friend's Halloween party as Alex deLarge (from "A Clockwork Orange") and Playboy Marge Simpson. The beau's costume was spot on and quite creepy. I'm still not entirely happy with how mine turned out, but at least I tried it for a party before cosplaying that at a con...
And then, the very next day, was DISNEY! We flew down to Orlando and met up with bestie zipmeister and his beau John for a week at the Happiest Place on Earth with a couple of day trips to the slightly scruffier Universal Studios Orlando. Oh. My. Goodness. We went to Mickey's Not-So Scary Halloween Party as a gang of pirates (adults can wear costumes in the park during the Halloween Party and all of the parks on Halloween itself). We also came up with a virtual drinking game for every "Elsa" costume we saw. We rode several rides that night including Space Mountain, the Haunted Mansion, and Small World (where we got stuck in the last room for about five minutes. The beau and Zippy nearly went mental while John and I merrily sang along. I'm still apologizing for that one) and watched the special Halloween parade. We didn't trick-or-treat, but I was grinning from ear to ear, and the Halloween-themed fireworks show was nearly overwhelming due to our location behind the castle. While we missed the light show on the castle, we were surrounded by the fireworks and I spent the whole show turning in slow circles to catch everything going on.
The next day was my birthday and I got to wear a button stating such. Every cast member greeted me and wished me "Happy birthday, Melanie!" I loved it! Since we were staying at the Disney Beach Club Resort, we took a water taxi over to Hollywood Studios and used our fast passes for the Aerosmith rollercoaster, the Tower of Terror, and Star Tours. The park was pretty empty for such a gorgeous day and we were able to zip into Star Tours three times in quick succession. That night, we drove over to the Grand Floridian Resort for my birthday dinner at Narcoossee's. The food was amazing and my glowing drink was delish! We were seated next to the windows and had an unobstructed view of the "Wishes" fireworks show. I was so overwhelmed with emotion that my eyes did leak a bit. It was probably one of the best birthdays I've ever had.
Tuesday was Universal Studios and we explored all of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Yes, I tried Butterbeer and it was GLORIOUS. I also drank Fishy Green Ale and it was pretty darn refreshing, too. We saw kids (and adults!) playing with the interactive wands in Diagon Alley and the streets of Hogsmeade. We explored Gringott's and Hogwart's, rode the Hogwart's Express, and raced dragons. Oh my goodness, but that's an amazing area. We rode pretty much all of the other thrill rides in the park and I tortured the guys by making them ride the elevated Dr. Seuss train. I'm still apologizing for that one. And even though these aren't Disney parks, we saw lots of Mouse ears and Elsa costumes. I stated that had we actually been drinking for our game, we'd have all died of alcohol poisoning by that afternoon.
That evening we sauntered over to EPCOT's World Showcase (the Beach Club is within walking distance) and partook of the Food and Wine Festival's offerings. Ermagherd. I think I'm still drunk from the margarita I got in Mexico and the idea of the steamed bun with shredded pork from China makes me salivate. Oh, I spotted someone with a set of sparkly leopard-print ears and decided I needed a pair of my own. NEEEEEEDED.
On Wednesday, we took a Disney bus over to the Magic Kingdom and started off with the Haunted Mansion. Don't mind if I do. We ran around like lunatics and did not ride Small World this time. I shopped like my life depended on it, but did not find sparkly leopard-print ears. I did, however, purchase and have monogrammed a leopard print Minnie ear hat. The beau had his name monogrammed on a plain Mickey ear hat. That evening we walked back over to World Showcase for dinner and chocolate and a complete lack of leopard print ears.
Thursday was back to Universal for more fun in Springfield with the Simpsons where we dined on Krusty Burgers and drank Flaming Moes. We were all getting kind of ragged out, to be perfectly honest, and spent only a few hours playing and shopping in Diagon Alley before heading over to Downtown Disney to look for leopard ears and to check out the Lego store and then on to the resort for naps. Our merry band split into two that evening so that the beau and I could experience all of the haunted houses at Universal's Halloween Horror Nights. I've gotten pretty jaded and felt that most of the houses left something to be desire, but the Dollhouse of the Damned and the Halloween House (as in the movie) got me to shriek repeatedly. That, plus a nighttime ride on the Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit was TOTALLY worth the price of admission.
Friday was Halloween and it started lazily with the beau and me checking out the fabled pools of the Beach Club while John explored Animal Kingdom on his own and Zippy slept in. The pools were pretty nice; however, a cold front had come through the night before and we were chilled in the pool. The spa, on the other hand, was juuuuust right. We sunned ourselves in the hot, bubbly water until it was time to get ready for lunch at Les Chefs de France. Ermagherd. So amazing. We waddled out of there and around to EPCOT proper to be disappointed with how dated some of the pavilions are and/or the unfortunate changes which have been made to other pavilions (I'm looking at you Journey Into Imagination). We again ate and drank our way through World Showcase. Urp.
Saturday was our last day in town and, because we technically had one more day pass left on our Magic Bands since we didn't go to a Disney park on Thursday AND I still hadn't found the leopard ears, we zipped over to Animal Kingdom en route to the airport. Remember that cold front I mentioned? Well, it was even colder and with a wind so we were all bundled up in our hoodies and jeans for this outing. We took a safari ride and saw many animals, but the safari stroll was pretty light on animal residents because it was just too darn cold for them to be out and about. Oh well. We rode a silly little spinny mousetrap rollercoaster, a dinosaur ride, and Expedition Everest (which was probably the most thrilling of a Disney thrill ride and I'm glad not to have missed it). Also? I found the leopard ears.
We parted at the airport and all had very smooth flights to our respective destinations. It was SO COLD at National that the beau asked, "How much was the airfare? Can we turn around and go back right now??"