Critic Corner – Mardi Gras at Universal

Hi everyone, Critic Christy here!

Recently Thomas and our friend, Rohan, and I attended Universal’s Mardi Gras celebration! Guess what? It was great! Transformers

We got there around 6pm and rode transformers before the parade started. Everyone say hiiiiiii Rohan! And yes, I am wearing an awesome sparkly, light-up hat just for the celebration!

The parade started at 7:45, and I have to say, the floats were pretty impressive! There were tons of stilt-walkers and TONS of beads!

Despite the heavy competition, the three of us managed to collect over 80 necklaces! Here is a pic of me and Thomas waiting for the parade to circle back around to the finish. You will notice I am hiding my beads under my shirt like a pro in order to make them think they should give us more. Obvi.

MaridGrasI don’t have any other photos of the parade because I didn’t take my phone with me, so sorry about that! If I go again I’ll get a few shots in, I promise! Once I wrestle them off of Rohan, I might also have a few more pics of the beads!

There are also concerts on Mardi Gras nights, and our performer was Cody Simpson….yeah, I have no idea who that is. We didn’t watch.

As for the food… okay, that was a little disappointing to me. They had a “french quarter” type of setup, but the food stands all had different things, but you couldn’t see what all your options were…not that you would want any of it anyway once you knew how much it was. We decided to be thrifty and eat after we left the park.

Overall:

Christy: I loved the parade and the beads! Worth a visit IF you are already planning on spending the day at Universal, or if you have a pass! NOT worth buying the “Event Only” ticket unless you freaking love the performer that night.

Thomas: Holy moley I have never had to be so scared of things flying out of the night and hit me in the face!  I will say if you do go (I agree with Christy, no Event Only) make sure that you have friends that can help shield your face!

Improvements: More parade nights! I have a really hard time getting off weekend nights in time for the fun! Better “French Quarter” section!

 

And just for fun…

sharksSHARK!!!

Chapter 3: The Neek Hears a Rumor

After our initial trip alone to Universal, it was like a plug had been pulled somewhere, and we were suddenly spending countless hours together.

For one thing, I’m pretty sure we went at least once a week to Universal the first couple of months after we bought our passes. The reasons for this were:

1. It was ridiculously fun.

2. We wanted to get our money’s worth out of them!!

Other activities we did together included things like: mini golf, bowling, and movie-watching. Looking back at these activities, I now see that they were in many ways very “date-like”… a prospect I paid little attention to during this time period.

Additionally, there were always the late-night Steak and Shake hangouts to look forward to… an activity generally only Christy and I shared since Rohan tended to go straight home after work. When I say late night, I mean LATE night. We used to stay there for hours – like until 4 or 5am frequently. What would we do for all that time, you ask? Snack. Chat. Fantasize about winning the Lottery. Hold hands – I mean….

About that… I have since been informed (by Christy) that holding hands/ giving hand massages across the table several times a week for lengthy amounts of time is unusual for “just friends.” Who knew?! Okay, okay, I maybe knew that… but I just didn’t want to stop, and I was afraid of where admitting that might lead!

Needless to say, when we later visited Steak and Shake after actually beginning to date, our waitress, to my astonishment, was not surprised other than to find out that we had not actually been dating before.

Way to show off my social skills, right?

Another exciting development around July was that Christy and I both purchased annual passes to Busch Gardens! All the roller coasters! We only went twice during the summer, however, since it requires more travel time to get there.

Thomas and Christy's first trip to Busch Gardens.

Thomas and Christy’s first trip to Busch Gardens. (Christy is taking the picture)

Basically, for 3-4ish months, Christy and I were getting to know each other really well. We were spending a lot of time together, texting constantly, and ultimately becoming closer.

I know some would say that it would have been better to just “start dating already,” but I disagree. Given my past record with meeting new people…especially girls, I feel like this stage of getting to really know one another just made my feelings for Christy grow that much stronger. Also, you have to remember that we technically weren’t supposed to be spending time together outside of work, my being a manager and all.

Speaking of work, rumors of our relationship were rampant at the theatre. Rumors are typical and many-varied at the theatre, but ours were oddly specific.

Rumor: Thomas and Christy were dating.

Fact: False. (By technicality) We had never discussed dating each other or in any way had “made a move” to a more romantic relationship.

Rumor: Thomas and Christy were spotted holding hands at Chili’s.

Fact: False. We had actually never eaten at Chili’s together when that rumor started circulating. Steak and Shake, yes, but no one from the theatre was ever there when we did.

Rumor: Thomas and Christy were spotted making out in the parking lot of the theatre.

Fact: False. This had never occurred ANYWHERE, much less at our own work place. Come on, people!

I’m sure there were other rumors, but if so I can’t remember. Regardless, we were definitely an “item” at work long before we were an “item.”

By the time we finally got around to part where we were actually together, I’m happy to say that our fellow workers were thrilled and extremely  happy for us, but that part of the story is still to come…

Chapter 2: The Neek Rides a Roller Coaster

After discovering that Christy and I had close birthdays (just over a month apart), we promptly decide that a Birthday Month was obviously in order. Therefore, from around mid-April to mid-May, Birthday Month ensued. To be honest, there were not many activities to be shared during the time, but our actual birthdays were quite memorable.

For my birthday, I received a HUGE Sponge Bob balloon at work from my fellow managers. Christy was working in the Concession Stand that night, and she created a scavenger hunt for me to follow!

For Christy’s birthday, we celebrated by having a chocolate Oreo cake! Yum!

To finish the festivities off with a bang, we planned a whole slew of activities on the day after Christy’s birthday; and what better way was there to celebrate than by taking a trip to visit our favorite (totally real) Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Islands of Adventure and Universal?!

It was magical (Quite literally!) – but there was one more important note about this day… it was the first and most time either of us had spent alone with each other outside of work! Now I’m not going to say that love “blossomed between us” or any romantic stuff like that…after all, even if that HAD been the case, I would probably have been too naive to notice… but it was a really fun day!

After the afternoon torrential downpour that is a fairly common Florida occurrence, we met up with Rohan and several other friends at Olive Garden for a birthday dinner, then it was off to see the newly released Star Trek in Imax 3D (for free, I might add!).

Looking back, it is easy to see that in many ways this day marked the beginning of everything else that was to come. As summer began, the time Christy and I spent together lengthened, and became the thing that I more and more looked forward to each week.

Thomas and Christy riding Flight of the Hippogriff during their first trip to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter together.

Thomas and Christy riding Flight of the Hippogriff during their first trip together to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter.

One more thing I forgot to mention – our passes to the parks…they are annual ones! I guess there’s hardly a need to say it, but our story had only just begun…

Chapter 1: The Neek Makes a Friend

For anyone who hasn’t figured it out yet, this blog is the story of how I met my girlfriend, stuff we do together, and stupid things I do that she makes fun of me for (and maybe vice versa).

I guess I’ll start at the beginning…

Way back in 2010, I worked as a projectionist in a big movie theatre (I still work there, by the way, but digital upgrades have forced me to diversify my position).

I’d like to say that one day my whole world ceased to exist as I knew it as I gazed into the beautiful blue eyes of our newest transfer employee, that her beauty left me speechless, that her smile was like sunlight, and that I knew we were somehow destined to be together…

I’d LIKE to say that, but the truth is, we worked together at that theatre for around 3 years before really taking notice of each other in a “beyond the workplace” kind of way. That sounds a little harsh, maybe, but I was her manager, she was a concessionist, and the two weren’t really supposed to “mix.”  It wasn’t that I didn’t know or talk to her for all that time, just that our time spent together was solely made up of coinciding shifts at work.

That being said, our friendship began sometime around the start of the New Year in 2013, but it was not until closer to April that I realized there might be something more to our story than just casual friendship.

Working at a movie theatre means working late hours frequently. As a manager, it isn’t uncommon for me to stay until somewhere between 1:30-3:30 am depending on our last showtimes. As a, for lack of a better term, “normal” employee, Christy would generally have been scheduled to finish up a closing shift at least an hour before I was finished, sometimes more.

Sometime around February of 2013, there was a shift in the usual dynamic of closing…Christy stayed. It was the first of many nights where Christy lingered after her shift was over to hang with myself and our friend, and also a Manager, Rohan. As the days became weeks, and weeks became months, our nighttime hangouts between the 3 of us became routine.

There was texting between the two of us (late night pleas for help with strange computer issues on Christy’s part), we “friended” each other on facebook etc…

March and April marked the first “non-work” excursions the 3 of us did together… the 1st was to Outback with a 4th fellow employee, the 2nd was the 3 of us at the Bowling Alley, and then a movie.

By this time, our late nights had begun to incorporate after-work visits to Denny’s and Steak and Shake as well.

Before I even realized what had occurred, I had made a new friend! I tend to be shy and anti-social around people I don’t know. Therefore, as an employee I had worked with for over 3 years, Christy had already gained an advantage in the communicate-with-Thomas category.

One of the things I discovered that she and I shared was a common obsession with all things Harry Potter! Accordingly, given our Orlando, Florida location, we together decided that a trip to Universal’s infamous Wizarding World of Harry Potter was completely necessary! Little did we know, that one idea could lead to so much more than being friends…