Friday, December 9, 2011

Recap 2011- Pre Cruise Festivities

I guess I'll start from the beginning... 

Disney World/Universal Studios

The fun started for me when I flew down to Orlando to visit Universal Studios and Disney World about a week before the actual cruise started. I remember looking out the window of my plane with a beautiful sunset cascading over the white house. It was a fleeting peaceful moment in all the craziness that was soon to follow.

I'm going to keep the Disney portion of my review very brief because it has minimal to do with the Backstreet Boys. Though I was surprised at how many things throughout my trip I could actually relate to them. I'd see Donald Duck and immediately think of Brian's Donald Duck voice; I see cartoon Aladdin and think how Kevin used to do that; I'd even see leopard print Mickey ears that reminded me of AJ. I even thought that standing in lines for the rides was good practice for standing around waiting for BSB on the ship. I just had too much BSB on the brain. That said I did have time to meet one of my other favorite celebrities:

Mickey and Mickey shaped waffles
Overall I had a great time at Disney World. There was an especially frantic moment when Brian retweeted something Disney related and we thought he might be in the park with us. I was seriously looking at everyone to see if Brian might be in the masses of people. Needless to say, no luck finding him. Meanwhile AJ would later announce at the beach party that he was is fact in Disney World the day before we got there. Really? I have such crummy luck sometime. Granted if he had been in the park, I would've been too busy trying to find him to actually enjoy any of the rides, so I suppose it all worked out.

The one lesson I learned from going to Disney World before the cruise is that I wouldn't advise it in the future. I had an absolute blast but I ended up getting sick. Not sure if it was because it was cold and rainy one of the days, I was over-exerting myself, or because it was the thousands of germy kids surrounding me. I'm guessing the latter. So if you saw me the first day or so of the cruise and I couldn't speak to you, it's not because I didn't want to, its because I had no voice. I do sincerely apologize!

Arrival to Miami

My friends and I drove 4 hours down from Orlando to Miami and as the road signs indicated we were getting closer and closer to Miami my nerves started building more and more. As much fun as I was having at Disney, I knew the real vacation was just beginning. This is what I've been waiting months for.

We finally made it to Miami and before I had even walked into the hotel I spotted a friend lounging outside by the pool. It was so nice seeing her and it made me feel like I was returning home. It sounds cheesy, but I had such great memories from last year that had all originated at that hotel, so it was a nice feeling to be back and already see familiar faces even before going inside.

Wylee Party

It wasn't long after I arrived that we turned right around and headed for the Wylee party. After a ton of traffic and ironically swapping New Kids encounter stories in the cab ride over, we pulled up to the Eden Lounge. This was a far cry from my previous Wylee party that was on the side of the road because I thought the lounge was very nice and upscale. Girls started to gather inside and we could peak through the doors through to the other side of the club and see Brian and Leighanne setting up. Eek- my first Backstreet sighing of the trip! Nerves building up even more. As I waited for them to let us in, I glanced around the room and saw so many familiar faces of girls I had never even met before. I recognized people from the fan club, twitter, facebook, etc. It was strange feeling of knowing these girls, but not really knowing them at the same time. Anyone else experience that on the cruise?

They finally let us in to the outdoor patio which was just beautiful, especially as the sunset above us. Apparently I wasn't aggressive enough when the doors opened because from the second they opened to the second they closed, the table of merchandise was packed with fans. I couldn't even make my way up front to shop had I wanted. It was kind of frustrating because the same girls were up front the entire time, not allowing others the time to shop. Thus I shied back from the crowds, which was also partly due to the fact I still wasn't feeling 100%. I still made the most of my time there. Snacked on free hors d'oeuvres, met some new friends, and hung out with old ones.

The girls at the Wylee party
The staff also kept assuring us that Brian would come around and mingle, but as the night progressed I knew that wasn't going to happen. But just before I was about to give up hope, I saw a haphazard line forming around the patio and assumed Brian was getting ready to take pictures. Jackpot! I hopped in line and before you knew it I was up front chatting it up with Brian.

Me and Brian :)
Now, I need to back up a bit. Before I left for the event, I told my friends that if Brian took pictures to please make sure I looked okay and that my bra strap wasn't showing. I think I saw into the future because my bra was most definitely showing for the picture. There's just too much to remember before you meet a Backstreet Boy and my bra wasn't top of mind as I was just feet away from Brian. I even forgot to hug him and he was giving out hugs! Duh, how could I forget something so obvious. I was totally out of it. Oh well, I'm still really happy with how the picture turned out.

I was also thrilled because I had a mini conversation with him. I was teasing him how he hasn't gone blind from all the cameras flashing and he said it was because he had super retinas. I'm not even sure what made me say that, but I'm pretty sure whoever took their picture before me was talking about something with cameras that made me segue into this. My memory is already a little fuzzy on the details.

After I scored a picture with Brian, we tried to hop in line to meet Leighanne but security kicked us out. So it was time to move onto the next activity- Cameo Night club!

Pre-Cruise Party at Cameo

Meet & Greet

The long day of traveling and excitement was most definitely catching up to me before we even made our way into the club. I was quite exhausted and my cold wasn't helping matters. So I was less than thrilled when they finally did let us into the club to discover it felt like an icebox in there.

Me and Chrissy freezing our booties off
We stood around a bit waiting for the boys to show up. I may have gotten a drink to keep warm but $8 for a cheap beer and $18 for a mixed drink was just beyond ridiculous. Its not in my DNA to allow myself to pay that much for a drink. (Even though paying $150 to meet the backstreet boys for 5 seconds is perfectly acceptable) Finally they started letting people through and once again those darn nerves started kicking in. I've now met the boys several times but I still can't seem to shake those butterflies you get in your stomach right before meeting them. I don't think that will ever go away. The line moved swiftly along and before you know it I was in Backstreet heaven.

I have to thank Chrissy profusely for being able to get me a VIP ticket for this event. I can't thank you enough! The whole thing happened in a flash. I remember going down the line and saying hi to all of the boys and shaking their hands. 
I'm really happy with how the picture turned out
After the picture I headed out and Howie told me 'thank you'. I'd like to believe he digested what I told him about his album and the comment was in response to that. So I replied "it was worth the wait". I later realized he says thank you to everyone who meets him. But I'm choosing to believe the thank you was in response to my comment. Side note- I really do love Howie's album. A lot more than I thought i would too. My favorite song is Dominoes- Love it!

So another successful meet & greet down without me making a fool of myself in front of the boys. I'm also so thrilled with how the picture came out. I usually consider it a success if no one is blinking or blocked, and the cherry on the cake was that my bra wasn't showing this time. My only minor complaint is that AJ's hat is slightly blocking my face. But if my biggest problem in life is that AJ McLean was too close to me in a picture, I think I can manage ;)

The Club

Now I'm not a clubbing girl. But if there are any circumstances which I find it more bearable, its with the Backstreet Boys. I started off on the floor which proved to have a spectacular view. I'll let the video speak for itself. If you were there, you know which one I'm talking about:

No words

The best part of this was that it gave me such high hopes for the cruise. It seemed like the boys would be just as much fun, if not more fun than last year.

I didn't stay on the floor for long, as my friend Kim motioned me upstairs because it had a better view. Yet again it quickly paid off because Nick made his way upstairs and was about 2 feet away from me. Felt like my luck was taking a turn for the better. Only problem was that I was too distracted by Nick's hotness up close that I wasn't paying attention to the fact that AJ was premiering a new single of his US album release. Nick is such a good distraction though so I'll let it slide this time.

As the night continued, there wasn't much else going on from my perspective. Howie made his way out to the dance floor for what seemed to be an eternity. I was so surprised how long he stayed in the crowd. Lucky group of girls near him. But aside from that, the boys were sticking to the stage area, leaving the rest of the club with not much to do. For most girls its not a problem if you're drinking, dancing, and having a good time. Though I was feeling worse and worse as the night progressed so I had to break my golden rule of not leaving before the last Backstreet Boy left. My poor throat just couldn't take any more. So i left around 1:00am and understood I missed some excitement later that evening but nothing too major. I'd say I saw the highlight of the evening with AJ dancing on the stripper pole.

After a quick trip to CVS to load up on meds, I went back to the hotel and tried to get some sleep. 'Tried' being the key word there. Between my cold and excitement, not much sleep to be had that night.

Next stop- SS Backstreet!

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