“Work Hard, Play Hard” is a commonly used motto around The Urban Spa, and we take both sides of that phrase seriously. We worked incredibly hard to earn this trip to Orlando, jamming our schedule packed with reservations, challenging one another to sales competitions and striving to make sure all of our guests left the Spa happier and more relaxed than they did walking in and with a promise to come visit us again.
With that in mind, we woke up on our 4th day in Orlando, Fl suffering the repercussions of having taken the latter half of that phrase to heart the night before….
As I sat in a fog with my Gatorade and buttered toast, I couldn’t help but begin to worry about this morning’s adventure: an Airboat Ride in the Everglades. Boggy Creek was about a 45-minute drive from our lovely home away from home in Davenport, Fl. As we made our way there, the scenes outside of our windows changed dramatically from residential to highway intersections to rural, swampy, back-woods-looking Florida.
I was thankful for Sarah Tye’s teacher-style fake-out manoeuvre, telling us we had to be at our destination almost an hour earlier than was necessary, because it gave us some time to breathe in that fresh Florida air and prepare ourselves to hopefully meet some Gators….
Which we did!!
Right off the hop, we got to see over a dozen of the cutest little baby Gators, all piled up and lounging in the sun. They were honestly adorable and with the temperature being what it was, these cold-blooded little guys were mostly staying completely still…
Then, it was time to board our Airboat, throw on a pair of very necessary ear muffs and begin our search. Sure, we’d seen some but we really wanted to see some real, Gator action!
Not too long after setting out, our expert Guide spotted something exciting: A Bald Eagle! Honestly, I don’t know how he did it because it was probably 15 minutes before each of us had caught a glimpse (with the help of some binoculars and strong camera lens zoom…)
Contrary to my expectations, it was actually quite nice to be out the boat. With a giant fan at the stern, our Airboat seemed to glide along the top of the water without much turbulence (which I think we were all thankful for).
In the interest of not making this post all about myself, I have left out a somewhat
important detail: today was my birthday! It started promptly at midnight on the 10th of January with a rousing serenade from the group and stretched until the following midnight (and beyond, but I’ll tell you about that later).
To mark this occasion, the conductor of our Airboat ride let me take his seat for a photo op…
After our ride, we followed the sweet smell of burning wood over to Native Village,
where we met a man named Little Big Mountain who told us all about the
canoe he was carving using only primitive native technology.
He invited us to sit a while in his outdoor classroom and proceeded to give us a truly fascinating history lesson.
He brought us back in time to the early settlement of America, of Florida and of this swampy area in particular.
He also took us through the evolution of native weaponry, complete with some awe-inspiring demonstrations.
The group agreed that we could have listened to him speak all day, his story telling was so charismatic and engaging.
After about two hours of hanging on his every word, we bid him a fond farewell
and hit the road again towards home.
Upon arrival at the house, we were told that we had the afternoon to
ourselves to do as we pleased, but that we were all to meet at the
Universal Studios globe for 7:00 PM sharp
No hints were given, but we were told NOT to be late.
With that in mind, some of us spent the afternoon enjoying the pool and hot tub, watching TV, napping, running errands, etc. At some point, Jennifer and her partner John set to work making us a delicious barbeque dinner which I was so pleased to wake up to after a most wonderful and desperately needed nap.
At dinner, I was serenaded once again by the group and presented with a delicious cupcake Birthday cake!
Shortly after dinner, we loaded back into our convoy and set out towards Universal Studios. We met at the Globe, each with our own guesses as to what the surprise might be and waited. Kerri had me come with her and Tye to pick up the tickets for this surprise, so I got to find out a little bit sooner than the group:
LIVE TV TAPING OF WRESTLING!
Tye almost had me convinced, and so the three of us still did our best to make sure the group seriously thought we were going to a live taping of wrestling before revealing the true surprise.
Since there is no photography of any sort permitted inside of the theatre, I will do my best to recount the experience.
If you’ve never seen the Blue Man Group in action, you are missing out an entertaining evening filled with belly laughs and a permanent smile.
We were seated in the Splash Zone, which meant that there was an ever-present anticipation of being doused in some brightly coloured paint from the Group who famously pour loads of watery paint onto giant barrel-like drums and play until they themselves are drenched (though you can barely tell since their outfits are black).
Being so close to the stage also meant that there was an increased chance of interacting with the Group as they set out into the audience. At one point, one of the Men started walking through the crowd via our armrests and passed directly over Melanie Deighton.
Their show is truly something you need to see to fully understand, and I highly encourage you to take in a performance if you’re ever given the opportunity.
After the show, we made our way back to the house to rest up for our final full day in Orlando….
More on that later 🙂
On behalf of The Urban Spa