Blog: Alyssa wraps up her week in Florida at the most magical place on Earth

Chuck and Alyssa Disney Makeover
Disney Live Entertainment
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Alyssa Raymond

ORLANDO (WTHR) — The magic began the instant Chuck and I walked into Magic Kingdom. It’s smelled like cotton candy and happiness swirled all around us. We turned the corner and there it was — The Cinderella Castle.

Within minutes, a show formed in front of us. Move It! Shake It! MousekeDance It! Street Party came rolling on through and before we knew it Chuck and I were dancing in the street in front of the Cinderella Castle with Goofy and hundreds of little ones. We found out there’s some kind of live show every five minutes and each year about 200,000 entertainment experiences are brought to life in Disney.

Walt Disney World has always been about live shows, but now there’s a huge emphasis on interaction. Kids (and adults) get to dance with the characters. They get to contribute to the digital conversation as floats complete with electronic billboards zoom on by. They get to make lasting memories.

Chuck and I also checked out Disney Springs.

Over the last several years, this place as gone through a tremendous transformation, and that transformation is not slowing down. There are 150 shops and restaurants in this section of Disney. We came here for one thing: Amphicars. Theses things are the coolest and truthfully I didn’t even know they existed. In case you don’t know what they are, they’re these cars that drive on land and then immediately enter water and cruise around. Former presidents, Jimmy Carter and Lyndon B. Johnson, both owned an amphicar. The Boathouse is the only place in the world where you can go for a ride in one of these things. It can go seven knots (about 8-9 mph) in the water and 70 mph on land. For $125, a captain will take you around Lake Buena Vista for 20-25 minutes. It’s for all ages, even newborns can take along for a ride! It’s actually a very soothing and calming ride. Our captain told us that he’s had many passengers fall asleep while onboard! So I guess if you have a screaming child who really needs a nap, this is a way to rock a child to sleep.

By far my favorite moment on this trip was when Chuck and I got to be transformed into a Disney character. It’s called “Character Couture,” and these stylists will literally turn you into any character you want. This is available at any of the four salons in Disney’s resorts.

My stylist, OJ, did a magnificent job transforming me into Maleficent. We brought a headpiece with us because we weren’t sure how she was going to get my hair to look like horns. But as you can see from this picture, she turned my hair into horns!

Don't even get me started on the makeup. She really did an outstanding job. The highlight though came as I watch another stylist, Scully from Indiana, transform Chuck into Jack Sparrow. At this point, we were all so tired. Chuck was dozing off in his chair as Scully did his makeup. As I look out the corner of my eye, it was hilarious to me to see him nodding off. It almost looked like he was passing out from drinking to much (Disclaimer: Chuck doesn’t drink alcohol.) Once Chuck and I started to try to pose for pictures, I lost all composure as Chuck not only looked the part but acted the part. This was my favorite experience because Chuck and I laughed so hard we were crying. It was a bonding experience like no other, and I could just envision mothers and daughters, brothers and sisters, couples, best friends doing this together and making an unforgettable memory.

To anyone looking at Chuck’s Big Adventure from the outside, you saw fun. You saw pictures of us smiling, trying new things and experiencing what people would call a vacation. I had a number of people sarcastically say to me: must be nice to go on a paid vacation. Let me just tell you, this trip was the furthest thing from a vacation. Don’t get me wrong, Chuck, Cyndee (special projects producer), Steve (photographer) and I had a blast together, but we had 20-plus hour work days every single day.

There was one night when Steve only got one hour of sleep. ONE HOUR. Our alarms went off at 3:00 a.m. We were live at one location for Sunrise and then it was back in the car to drive to our next stop on Chuck’s Big Adventure. We ate beef jerky from various gas stations. We lugged gear from one hotel to the next. Most days we didn’t eat dinner. I had my eyes glued to my phone posting on social media. I joked that I almost walked into a pole at least seven times a day. We didn’t vacate our minds, but like any family vacation, you have your ups and your downs, your fair share of annoying mishaps and your unmet expectations. If you would ask me if I’d do it all over again I’d say, YES!! Until the next adventure... #BuckleUpChuck

Three things I learned about Chuck:

  • Chuck is a former assistant high school baseball and golf coach. (He says because if you can’t play, you coach.)
  • Chuck celebrated his 25th wedding anniversary in Disney. They dined at Narcoozies at Grand Floridian.
  • Chuck loves me! He gave me and Cyndee Valentine’s Day cards in Disney since we were all away from our loved ones.
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