This October I made my triumphant return to Disney for the Food and Wine festival to see Hanson again after not having been there since 2017. Before going, I did a lot of research because since COVID a lot of things at Disney had changed. One thing I saw repeatedly is that the ECVs in the park were often selling out, especially if you were park hopping. I ended up renting from an outside company – Gold Mobility. This is one of the companies that you need to meet for pick up and drop off because Disney hotels are ONLY partnered with ScooterBug and their reviews were less than stellar. I was set to pick up my scooter at the front of the hotel at 2pm on Thursday.
But first – I had to get there. Initially I had booked a flight on points via Southwest from Hartford. There were not many direct options and after Southwest did me dirty a few times, I ended up keeping an eye on Avelo which has direct flights from New Haven. When a 50% off sale popped up I managed to get direct, round trip for $219 (including luggage and seat fees as everything is a la carte). Despite it being a very small airport they still had said to arrive 2 hours before your flight. I got there at 5pm for a 7pm flight – only to find out that the earlier 12:30pm flight – hadn’t left yet as they were waiting for 2 crew members! They ended up leaving around 6pm and then confused crew members started showing up for my flight. I think that my crew got bumped to the other flight and they had to scramble to get back ups for the later flight as we ended up delayed about an hour waiting for our final flight attendant. We also ended up taking a different plane than we were supposed to, so several rows were missing (it went 10, 11, 21!) those in 12-20 ended up being placed in the back of the plane as it was not a full flight and there was plenty of room. We made it to MCO at 11pm and of course, Uber surge pricing was in effect and it cost me $100 to get over to Pop Century.
I had asked for a first floor room at Pop, since I knew I would have my scooter with me 24/7, but they put me on the top (4th) floor and one of the rooms furthest away from well, anything. (Yes, it was an accessible room!) I hoped I would be able to figure out the elevator with the scooter but it being nearly midnight by the time I got to the room I just wanted to get some sleep.
The next morning I got ready for the Halloween party that afternoon, made it to the cafeteria for some lunch and then wandered around until 2pm hit and my scooter was delivered. I ended up heading to the Magic Kingdom shortly after to try and get in for the Halloween party at 4pm. The bus driver was absolutely amazing and parked the scooter for me after I told him I had never done it before. It was H-O-T at Magic Kingdom but at 4pm they let us in and I wandered around to get my candy bag and just check out the park and remember where everything was located. 2 hours in, the battery level dropped significantly on the scooter. I found a spot with an outlet to charge and sat for 30 minutes as I was advised to charge it for 30-45 minute 2 or 3 times throughout the day to make sure the charge would last. It went back up to full, but after 30 minutes dropped down again. Overall, I ended up stopping to charge the scooter 5 times throughout the night (twice a cavalcade parade ended up going by as I sat so at least I wasn’t missing out on all the fun). This didn’t seem right. I did manage to meet Minnie in her witch outfit (after waiting in line early to knock it out right away and being told there was a delay and to leave – when I went back much later there was no line at all and Daisy was nowhere to be found) and hit up a lot of the photopass spots for photos. I wanted to hit up Main Street for some more photos but with all the timing of everything and not knowing when I’d need to charge again by the time I made it over that way the 2nd parade had ended and it was a steady stream of people leaving and my scooter was on RED. I tried to get in to meet Mickey, who had no line, and repeatedly got asked if I had a disability by a cast member. I told him yes and he wanted to see something on my phone? I think a DAS, which I don’t qualify for and I have no idea why the 20 questions as if I couldn’t take the scooter through the line he should have just told me? And once I did get in with it, Mickey’s attendant told me their last scooter died as they were leaving the room – I told him mine was dangerously close to that and I was hoping I’d make it back to the hotel!
I ended up leaving around 11 for the bus and this bus driver would not touch the scooter and instead got very panicky trying to direct me on how to park it myself on the bus. Not helpful when I was already frazzled from all the battery drama! The hotel was supposed to be having a power outage between 12 and 5am. I could see workers on a different building as I made my way back to my room and wanted to make sure I was back and settled by the time it went out in my room. I ended up getting the scooter up the elevator and in the room after a couple of attempts and got settled in bed. Then I was feeling cold so I went to change my pajamas a bit later and as soon as I got one leg back in the bed, the power went out. Perfect timing!
First thing when I got up Friday I called Gold Mobility to tell them something was up with the scooter. He said if it was still acting up after 2 hours again at the park, they’d bring me out a replacement. I ended up changing my reservations from Animal Kingdom to Epcot for the full day as the terrain at AK drains the battery much faster. Sure enough, 2 hours after getting to EPCOT it went from green all the way down to red. Not even into orange. I was struggling to find an outlet that was actually powered on and texted to get that replacement coming. It took a bit longer than their estimate, but I was happy to (hopefully) have one with a better functioning battery. I ended up getting it around 12:30 and while I did stop to charge it a couple of times, it never lost any of the power lights for the rest of the day! I managed to navigate a couple of food & wine kiosks on my own and then met up with a friend. And by total surprise another friend who was visiting Disney (and not there for Hanson) was in front of us in line at the Germany kiosk. You know what they say, it’s a small world!
Then it was time for the Hanson concerts… to be honest I’ve waited so long to post this they’ve all kind of melded into one in my brain so here’s the setlists:
Saturday was our scheduled all day EPCOT day. I saw that my friend ended up snagging us reservations for Guardians of the Galaxy and made sure to take my motion sickness meds before I left. (Bonine – which I also found helped with the skyliner) We did a bunch more of the food and wine kiosks and ended up knocking out just about everything on my to try list.
Halloween we split our time at Magic Kingdom and ended up riding Haunted Mansion and getting a bunch of fun photopass photos. We also got to check out the Hocus Pocus 2 photo op and get Mickey ice cream bars! We had more dining reservations at EPCOT, this time at Garden Grill which meant we got to also meet Pluto, Mickey and Chip and Dale during our meal! Of course I sat on the end where they would sneak up on me and scared me several times! (Pluto and I think Chip came around twice while we were eating) Then it was time for our final night of Hanson shows!
I have to say, I am not sure I have ever thought about butts quite so much consistently as when I was reading this book, but it definitely made me think a lot about them and how we relate to them.
Butts is a series of essays on the history of the human butt. You might laugh, but it actually was quite interesting to see the evolution of them and how they are used in pop culture now.
While this is not a book you probably ever thought about reading, if you’re looking for something interesting and unique – definitely add it to your reading list.
I received a free e-copy of this book in order to write this review. I was not otherwise compensated.
About the Book
One of Esquire’s 20 Best Books of Fall • One of Time’s Most Anticipated Books of Fall
“A deeply thought, rigorously researched, and riveting history of human butts. Radke knows exactly when to approach her subject with levity and when with gravity. A pitch perfect debut.” —Melissa Febos, bestselling author of Girlhood and Body Work
Whether we love them or hate them, think they’re sexy, think they’re strange, consider them too big, too small, or anywhere in between, humans have a complicated relationship with butts. It is a body part unique to humans, critical to our evolution and survival, and yet it has come to signify so much more: sex, desire, comedy, shame. A woman’s butt, in particular, is forever being assessed, criticized, and objectified, from anxious self-examinations trying on jeans in department store dressing rooms to enduring crass remarks while walking down a street or high school hallways. But why? In Butts: A Backstory, reporter, essayist, and RadioLab contributing editor Heather Radke is determined to find out.
Spanning nearly two centuries, this “whip-smart” (Publishers Weekly, starred review) cultural history takes us from the performance halls of 19th-century London to the aerobics studios of the 1980s, the music video set of Sir Mix-a-Lot’s “Baby Got Back” and the mountains of Arizona, where every year humans and horses race in a feat of gluteal endurance. Along the way, she meets evolutionary biologists who study how butts first developed; models whose measurements have defined jean sizing for millions of women; and the fitness gurus who created fads like “Buns of Steel.” She also examines the central importance of race through figures like Sarah Bartmann, once known as the “Venus Hottentot,” Josephine Baker, Jennifer Lopez, and other women of color whose butts have been idolized, envied, and despised.
Part deep dive reportage, part personal journey, part cabinet of curiosities, Butts is an entertaining, illuminating, and thoughtful examination of why certain silhouettes come in and out of fashion—and how larger ideas about race, control, liberation, and power affect our most private feelings about ourselves and others.
Saturday night I went to check out Tartan Terrors at The Kate. A friend had seen them earlier this year and said if they came to CT we’d have to go and that I would enjoy them – and that they wear kilts. That was enough to convince me so we snagged some front row tickets for their show. I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect but I had a lot of fun and really enjoyed them and am looking forward to seeing them again! After the show I managed to snap some photos of the setlist which I got added to setlist.fm and you can check out below!
Friday night I braved the rain and winds from Hurricane Nicole and made my way to Pawling, NY to check out David Cook. He had been in CT for two dates over the summer but unfortunately it clashed with my Hanson shows so I wasn’t able to see him. Before the show I did a M&G which was scheduled to start at 6:30 and the show at 8. Well, the M&G line was quite long and David was quite chatty so the line was still going at 8pm. The show ended up starting at 8:30pm, for which David apologized but said he was a popular guy and it was the M&G that was taking up the time. While the setlist appears to be rather short, he played for about 2 hours and threw some stories in throughout and seemed genuinely happy to once again be in front of a crowd and not in his basement doing streams like he had been doing. As the show was on Veterans Day he spoke a bit about veterans and dedicated the song Light On to the veterans in the room. I can’t wait until he comes back around again!
Last week, Blues Traveler concluded their 35th anniversary tour at Foxwoods. This show ended up being a free private show for those with players cards to the casino, so I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect. Seating was GA (with the first several rows reserved for higher rollers) so I managed to be 8th row center. Most of the crowd sat for the entire show, despite a guy to the left of me trying very, very hard to get everyone up and dancing. The show was a lot of fun, with John Popper throwing out several harmonicas into the crowd (I knew he had done this in the past but wasn’t sure if he still would now that covid is a thing!) and the band playing about a 90 minute set including their hits.
The 24 Hour Dating Agency was a fun book. As someone who has also been on and off all the dating apps for the past few years, I could totally relate to these characters. There are 3 main characters – Saffie – a single journalist, Tamara – a single mom of 3 and Milo – Saffie’s best friend who has just been dumped. They end up seeing an ad for a “24 hour dating agency” where a match maker will fix them up with “the one” or their money back. A few of them are skeptical but the three of them try to find it out. Saffie is the most skeptical of the whole experience and thinks she will just use it to write an article about the dating agency, but when she seems to fall for her match, she changes her mind. Tamara gets matched with a ventriloquist who at first she is unsure of, but decides to spend more time with him anyway and Milo gets matched with an ex from his younger days.
There are a lot of twists and turns in this story and it was a fun quick read and now I am off to find a 24 Hour Dating agency in my area because the way they had to decode and figure out the places they are going on their dates seemed like a lot of fun!
I received a free e-copy of this book in order to write this review and I was not otherwise compensated.
About the Book
Tinder, Hinge, Bumble – thirtysomething journalist Saffie has tried them all. Now she’s wondering whether it’s time to throw in the towel and give up on love for good – and she’s not alone…
Saffie’s boss Tamara has been single since her divorce four years ago, but at forty-five, running her own magazine and with three kids at home, she doesn’t feel she has the time, energy or confidence to go through the dating mill again. Meanwhile, Saffie’s best friend Milo has just been dumped – again. A hopeless romantic with terrible taste in men, this is his fourth break-up in six months. There must be a secret to finding Mr Right, surely – but what?
Step forward The 24-hour Dating Agency, a matchmaking service with a difference. Instead of wasting months on casual dates, they promise to send you on an intense twenty-four-hour date with your perfect match – like speed-dating but in reverse. And even better, the agency offers a soulmate guarantee: meet The One or your money back.
Figuring they have nothing to lose, the three friends sign up. But when their matches turn out to be not what they were expecting, it seems like even the soulmate guarantee can’t find them what they’re looking for. Or can it?