Today we drove down to Charleston, SC for a much needed vacation (the month of March has beaten us up). This is Ariel’s first trip here (we aren’t counting spring 1995) and our first in about 12 years. Our room at the Harbor View Inn overlooks the Cooper River. If we look to the left out of our window we can see the bridge over the Cooper River, and if we look through a break in the magnolia trees to the right we can see Fort Sumpter. We did a little walking around town (we saw dolphins and a bald eagle in Waterfront Park), then came back to the hotel for wine and cheese and hot chocolate. Ariel was craving some Italian for dinner, so we went to Bocci’s (our favorite Italian restaurant in town) for dinner where we laughed and groaned over each other’s jokes.
The Space Station Bakeshop Captain’s Log
Today was Magic Kingdom day! We:
Walked through the Swiss Family Treehouse
Saw a show in The Enchanted Tiki Room
Rode Pirates of the Caribbean
Did the teacups ( not a bright idea right after lunch)
Did the Haunted Mansion (loved it!)
Rode the train to Tomorrowland where we did Space Mountain (it rocked!)
Rode Big Thunder Mountain Railroad
And finally took the train back to Main Street USA where we caught the monorail back to our hotel bus.
Kevin went to the pool with Ariel and me at night and we actually got in the main (cold) pool. After Kevin push us through one waterfall we were ok in the cooler water. We also went in the hot tub/hydrotherapy pool for a bit. Our room looks out over the sphere at Epcot, so we were able to watch the fireworks display from our window.
Today we walked all over Epcot. This is Ariel’s first trip to Disney, and it is great to see that she loves the countries in Epcot as much as I do. We picked up some park maps (Ariel’s in German, mine in French) and headed to the geodesic sphere. We started our tour of the countries in the Mexico section. Here we found huge sombreros to wear for pictures. In the Norway section we found Viking helmets to wear for pictures, and a meme was started.
Lunch was at the Biergarten Restaurant in the Germany section. There was music and some dancing and a food selection if German foods. The rest of the day was spent visiting most of the other countries and doing some shopping. In the evening Ariel and I hit the outdoor hot run (or Hydrotherapy pool as it is called) since the Oasis Pool was just too cold for our taste
The extended Gunn Clan has headed to Florida for summer vacation.
We drove (following all posted speed limits) down yesterday and spent the night in Titusville. Ariel and I enjoyed a dip in the pool after the long drive. Kevin kept us up giggling into the night by talking like the South Park Sur La Table employee (see the Margaritaville episode).
Day 1 was spent at Kennedy Space Center. this has changed a lot since my PDS science club trip back in 1985. We started the day with. the early bird tour. On the tour I had my first ever manatee sighting in the wild (ok I saw something splash and the tour guide said ‘manatee!’). Kennedy is the site of the second largest wildlife refuge in Florida, so in addition to the cool space facilities we saw lots of wildlife. We also went to the Star Trek Live show, which was geared at kids, but fun for a family of Trekkies.
We then drove to our hotel, the Regal Sun Resort in Lake Bueno Vista. Although Ariel and I wanted to hit the pool, we had a more important mission – Margaritaville Orlando. Kevin, Ariel and I headed out to see how this Margaritaville compared to the others we have visited (we loved it!). The burgers were delicious, they played two Jack Johnson sings AND The Tiki Bar Is Open. The Smugglers Hold held flip flops, shirts, a present for Katie and 2 CDs to add to our collection. And who can resist a place with a volcano that spews margaritas!
Things I Don’t Wanna Forget
Unicorn Pegasus Kitten.
Stan Lee is his biggest fan.
And by you I mean me.
James Marsters saying “hey” to Ariel.
Shaking Genie Francis’ hand while she was sitting beside Jonathan Frakes.
Riding the elevator down from the 6th floor with Wil Wheaton (with about 10 other guests).
Seeing Felicia Day sitting in the lobby of the hotel.
Tony Stark should NOT carry his own batteries…or pocket change.
Preemptively asking for forgiveness is not the same as asking for permission -Wheaton.
The two little boys who wanted their picture taken with Tony Stark.
Vader and Wash.
Wait..you touched her (Felicia Day) waist???
Teenage Mutant Ninja Dr. Horrible Turtles drowning each other.
Starbucks breakfast on the sun deck.
TSF at The Matador.
Phoenix CactusCon-Stan Lee
Today has been Stan “The Man” Lee Day for us. Kevin had previously bought an Iron Man original movie poster to bring for Stan Lee to sign. Ariel and I looked for Spiderman and Ironman figurines to get signed, but we couldn’t find ones in the 12-14″ range. Ariel did talk to someone at a comic book booth and bought an Ironman comic (I found 2 Serenity comics there) and I bought the “Proof That Tony Stark Has A Heart” collectable. We lined up around 11:30 a.m. and finally made our way up to Stan Lee at 1:10 (he had to stop signing at 1:30). I really thought he would be moving people through as quickly as possible, but there was a sense of calm surrounding him. I gave him the plastic case I wanted signed and he asked
“What do you want me to do with this?”.
“Umm sign it, it’s for my Ironman heart.”.
“You want me to sign it here?” (he points to the middle of the case).
“Yes please” – but in my mind I was thinking “You’re Stan Lee! You can sign anywhere you want!”
After a quick lunch we did another divide and conquer. Kevin and I went to a Stan Lee Spotlight while Ariel attended a Voice Actor Panel. We met back up for the Super Happy Fun Hour with John (Scalzi) and Wil (Wheaton).
Speaking of Wil Wheaton – he rode down the elevator with us last night (the car was crowded so it wasn’t just us and the Geekest Guy on the Internet). This morning Ariel spotted Felicia Day in the hotel lobby eating a bagel. We were good and did not stalk her ala Captain Hammer groupies.
Anyway, John Scalzi wrote the other book I wanted for my Gabe/airplane bag so I bought that and had it signed. He mentioned something about coming out to Phoenix in what he signed – a really nice detail.
We reluctantly left the convention center for the last time, said good-bye to our friends Darth Vader and Wash, then headed up to Glendale for a Margaritaville Restaurant. This was our first in-land M’ville, though the map painted in the ceiling had Glendale by the Pacific.
We are now thoroughly tired, but inspired and ready for our next con (whenever that may be).
Our morning was spent walking around the Vendor Hall and taking pictures of awesome costumes. Quite a few people wanted pictures of either Kevin/Tony Stark or Ariel/Codex. there were two little kids that were beside themselves to get their picture taken with Tony Stark. We even found an Ironman to take a picture with Kevin/Tony.
The afternoon was filled with panels – Felicia Day and Wil Wheaton (The Guild), John Schneider (Dukes of Hazzard), John Marsters (Buffy, Torchwood), and Jonathan Frakes, LeVar Burton, and Wil Wheaton (ST-TNG). It is really interesting to listen to these actors and hear their perspective of working in TV.
Between panels I ran back to the vendor room where I met Genie Frances. She reached out and shook my hand! She was so nice and I’m thrilled I was able to get her autograph. Her husband, Jonathan Frakes, was signing beside her – very surreal to be so close to so many stars.
So now it is time for dinner (we found a pub within walking distance) and some much needed rest.
Finally in Phoenix. We checked into the hotel, changed out of yesterday’s clothes and headed across the street to the convention center to Comicon. We hit the Exhibit Hall and wound our way over to where Felicia Day and Wil Wheaton we signing merch. Wil Wheaton was very cool and remembered Kevin’s tweet about kill functions for headaches. I then asked “the geekiest guy on the Internet” to sign one of his books, and he passes the book over to Kevin to sign. I’m not sure Kevin’s head will ever come down to normal size.
Then we met Felicia Day (Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog and The Guild). She LOVED Ariel’s outfit. She talked to Ariel about making the costume and how it was exactly like hers on The Guild. Ariel was SO THRILLED! She even wanted her picture taken with Ariel.
We then split up and I attended the Genie Frances (Laura from General Hospital) Spotlight. She was so personable and came down on the floor to talk instead of staying on the stage. It was so cool to see someone I had grown up watching every day on TV that close.
Kevin and Ariel then joined me for Wil Wheaton’s “Awesome Hour”. Wil Wheaton is an amazing storyteller. The way he can talk about an everyday event and have you (”and by you I mean me”) laughing so hard is amazing. His ability to express feelings that everyone has (but may not realize they feel) is sometimes chilling or heart-warming or bust out laughing funny.
After a long day of work (Elizabeth), school (Ariel) and pre-trip errands (Kevin) we headed to the airport to fly to Phoenix for Phoenix Comicon. We were supposed to have a layover in Atlanta, but that turned into an overnight stay since out plane left so late. The Delta agent was helpful in finding us a hotel though and offered us our choice of four local hotels – from Holiday Inn Express to the Crowne Plaza (you can guess what I chose). since we checked our baggage (and it would be kept in a secured area overnight) we were issued overnight travel bags containing toiletries and a t-shirt. I am *trying* to travel lighter, but this is a liitle extreme.
The Crowne Plaza was very nice, though it took me a while to figure out how the “square” pillows worked.
So not much geekery to report for today. I have noticed that my “Gabe Bag” a.k.a. my purse seems to gain weight as the trip progresses. (and yes, World War Z is in the Gabe Bag.