2015 in Review Part 1 (Includes KISS, Internet Friends, Monster Trucks, and IPW 2015)

Zengrrl.com 2015 in Review Part 1 - Jan to June

2015 was a crazy year for me with lots of fun and firsts. So I thought I’d recap some of my adventures.

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January 2015 was a slow month, mainly my first of the year medical check-ups with my round of doctors, and I saw the Ringling Bros. circus and Monster Jam for CitySurfing Orlando.



Also for CSO, I covered the opening of Rock & Brews in Oviedo, which is owned by Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley of KISS. The duo was also present and it was great meeting them again. Last time I had the chance to talk to them was almost 20 years ago. I also ran into rocker/wrestler Chris Jericho. It would’ve been more fun but I think I caught the flu from somebody at the event and I spent the next week barely able to get out of bed.


Opening of Rock & Brews Oviedo

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February 2015 was a really slow month as far as media events. I did attend a Silver Spurs Rodeo media event, where I got a tour of the arena in Kissimmee, and met a few of the Silver Spurs pageant queens. Kissimmee has a lot of cattle barons, and they take the rodeo seriously.




I also attended an Oscar event at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, where I got to get up close and personal with a real Oscar statue…for all of a minute, before I was scooted out for the next group. But as a movie fan, it was still pretty cool.




The month ended with meeting my Facebook friend, Sherryl, when she was in town staying at Disney’s Port Orleans French Quarter resort. She’s a very cool person, and I’m really glad we got to meet — even if the monsoon of rain kept us from leaving the resort.



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March 2015 I got to review the Jim Breuer show at Plaza Live! in Orlando. I think he’s hilarious, especially when goes into his heavy metal rants. He nails it every. single. time.

The following week my roommate’s friend was in town, so we went to the Epcot International Flower and Garden Show at Walt Disney World. I’ve always loved seeing the creative topiaries they design, in the shapes of various Disney characters, but the addition of the food kiosks made it even better.




Towards the end of the month, I got to cover the Howard Jones Velvet Sessions show. Velvet Sessions takes place in the lobby of the Hard Rock Hotel at Universal Orlando, so it’s a very intimate setting to see a musician. I’ve been a fan of Howard’s since the 80s, so it was a really fun night.




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Mid-April 2015 was busy for me with more concerts to cover for CSO. I saw the Ting Tings at the Social, and they were so close I could almost touch them in the small club. KaneHoller opened for them, and I enjoyed hearing this new-to-me EDM duo.




The next night I saw Extreme on their 25th anniversary tour for the Pornograffitti album. They played the album, my favorite of theirs, in its entirety, then played a few of their other hits. They were still amazing live 25 years after I first saw them in concert.





The very next morning I was at SeaWorld Orlando bright and early for a preview of their new animal show, Clyde and Seamore’s Sea Lion High. It was a fun little show, and those sea lions are great dancers.




I finished the week by seeing Peter Hook, of the bands Joy Division and New Order, and his band live at Plaza Live! Orlando for CSO. The lighting sucked for photos, since it was all dark blue and purple, so I shot in black & white to bring up the contrast.




The very end of April saw the opening of The Orlando Eye, Madame Tussauds, and Sea Life Orlando. A few days before it was open to the public, they held a press conference where stunt performer Nik Wallenda set a world record by walking on top of The Orlando Eye with no safety harness or net. It was a bit nail-biting, though from ground level, he looked like an ant. Thank goodness for telephoto lenses.




Then I got to ride The Eye, as well as check out Madame Tussauds and Sea Life, with my friend Joan.





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I started May 2015 with a stay at Disney’s Pop Century resort with Rhonda, where we went and did the Avenger’s Double Feature. We got some snazzy posters for our efforts, as well as a blurry photo from a nice AMC staff member.




I also went bowling at Splitsville with some fellow lady bloggers, watched the Nitro Circus stunt show when it rolled into the Amway Center, and ate at the opening of the first Culver’s to hit Central Florida. The burger chain started in a town 10 miles from where I grew up, so it’s like a bit of my childhood is nearby. Plus, yummy butter burgers and fried cheese curds. #nomnomnom




I finished the month attending a press conference at Madame Tussauds for the reveal of the new Pitbull wax figure. Pitbull was there, but he just unveiled the figure, snapped a few photos with VIPs and left. He was funny during the introduction of the figure, though, trying to pose like it.



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June 2015 kicked off with a bang, as IPW 2015 rolled into Orlando. It’s a travel conference for the buying and selling of destination travel in the U.S., which picks a different city each year. 2015 happened to be Orlando, which was wonderful, because I got to do a lot of fun things in my own city.

It kicked off with media tours, and I was on the Universal Orlando VIP tour. I enjoyed seeing all the new stuff at the parks, but it really kicked my ass because we did both parks and CityWalk in 3 hours and it was over 90 degrees out, which caused my MS to flare up majorly. There was one point near the end of the tour where I literally felt like I was going to die. I had to keep stopping to focus my brain just so I could walk. But I did get to meet one of the new residents at Islands Of Adventure:




As well as some Minions over at Universal Studios:




The rest of IPW 2015 was a breeze, with press conferences and PR meetings during the day and adventures at the theme parks during the night. I got to meet astronaut Thomas D. Jones, thanks to the folks at Kennedy Space Center, as well as take in some Broadway shows during lunch, thanks to the NYC bureau flying in several casts to entertain us. I finally got to see Disney’s The Lion King, Disney’s Aladdin, and Book of Mormon…well at least a couple of songs each.






After a week of rest, I finished June with some restaurant openings, like Marlow’s Tavern Waterford Lakes and catching the country band Trick Pony at the opening weekend of SeaWorld Orlando’s Summer Nights.





I also was invited to speak at FPRA/PRSA Media Mash-Up to a room full of Orlando PR people, along with several other local bloggers. I hate speaking in public, but I figure the more I do it, the less uncomfortable I will get with it. Plus it was a great opportunity to make contacts and get my blogs out in front of the PR people. It went way better than I expected, and I think we may have been the rowdiest panel of the day.



I closed the month of June 2015 with a road trip up to St. Augustine with Joan to see Bryan Adams. There was a bit of a ticket snafu, but venue manager came through for us, and we had great seats for the show. Alas, no photo pass emerged, so I took the best pics I could with my cell phone (and Joan’s). But it was a great concert, full of his many hits, as well as a few newer tunes.



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And that’s it for the first six months of 2015. Writing it out, it seems I did more than I thought I did. No wonder I was always exhausted. LOL But we still have six months left, so stay tuned for part two of my year in review.

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About zengrrl

I'm Michelle Snow, the writer and creator of Zengrrl. I write about travel, entertainment, women's issues, health, body positivity, and more, both for this blog and freelance. I have also authored/co-authored four guidebooks on Orlando and Florida. If you aren't already following me, the links are below, as well as on the top right of this page. Thanks!

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