Hearts of Reality Weekend 2019

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Hearts of Reality Weekend 2019.

If you’ve been here quite awhile then you might remember that waaaay back in 2011 Katie and I did something slightly crazy.

We flew to Las Vegas. For the weekend. While I was 29 weeks pregnant. So we could attend a reality show event.

You can read about our Vegas trip here and the reality event here and here πŸ™‚

When Katie found out there is a reality weekend in ORLANDO we knew we HAD TO GO.

I mean if we FLEW to VEGAS we can at the very least drive or Orlando. Right?

Typically if visiting Orlando we stay in our Disney Rental House but the house is booking FAST y’all which is a total and complete blessing…but also means stuff that we don’t have planned super in advance the house may be booked.

It was booked over this weekend so Katie and I decided to just do this thing right and go full on MVP with it.

This reality event was an entire weekend called Hearts of Reality hosted by Give Kids the World Village which is an INCREDIBLE charity. I highly recommend learning more about them and the joy they are brining to families here.

We headed down Friday afternoon and were super impressed with the nice hotel rooms – it was MASSIVE. We each had our own room AND a living space AND kitchen!

The whole event was all located in Celebration, Florida and it was so nice that everything was so close to the hotel.

We went over to Buca for dinner and it was SO GOOD. I loved that we could just share everything!

We knew the next night was going to be LATE so we planned to just sleep in as late as possible Saturday morning.

Not even gonna lie…I was SO PUMPED for the SLEEP.

We went to bed at like 11ish and slept until 9:30 and it was HEAVEN.

You def know you’re a mom when sleep is exciting!

The big event of the weekend was the meet and greet that afternoon.

We did a late breakfast/early lunch situation at a super cute spot called Holler and Dash before heading over for the event.

I was so glad I had packed my new fav outfit…yall if you missed it in my Favorites Post then let me tell you…this jumpsuit will make you love jumpsuits!

The meet and greet was held at a gorgeous hotel in Celebration. Since we were VIP we were allowed to wait in a special area and then got to go through the line first.

It was really interesting to do some people watching and see how HARDCORE some of these fans were. WOAH.

These two ladies were sitting by the door of the VIP room and told every single person that came through that THEY WERE FIRST IN LINE.

Katie and I let everyone go in front of us so we were the last of the VIP group which worked out well actually because it kinda gave us something to talk to the talent about while going through the line!

The meet and greet space was divided into two areas. It was crowded and HOT but the set up overall was great. It was a tad awkward trying to get pics so quality ain’t great but the line set up kept things moving nicely and was less awkward than having to go up to people and introduce ourselves.

They handed out a nice book that everyone signed and I love that their signatures were with their name and photo – made it SUPER EASY to remember!

There were several shows represented but mostly Survivor, Big Brother and Amazing Race.

I’m going to share sets of photos and just mention things worth noting/remembering as it’s a LOT of people we met!

Mark from MTV and Jonny FairPlay from Survivor were both people we met in Vegas – 8 years ago! It was really fun re-meeting people.

Abi from Survivor surprised me and was so sweet in person!

When we bought the tickets for the event I assumed I wouldn’t remember majority of the people.

Ya know our brains can only fit so much and for me movie and tv trivia, quotes and celebrities just kinda get dumped into the “forget” portion of my mind.

I watch a season, I enjoy the season, then I completely and totally forget about it.

But once we were there I suddenly remembered a ton more people than I’d expected to!

We had planned to only get pics with our favs and Katie was laughing saying that I had wayyyy more “favs” than she’d expected!

Erik is a Survivor legend in that he made one of the biggest mistakes on the show in history, you can’t help but feel bad for him!

I was excited to meet Sheri from Amazing Race. She ran the race with her son Cole LeBrant who I hadn’t heard of until that season of the show and really love his family-friendly YouTube content.

I’m not a huge Amazing Race fan.

A common question asked by the talent as we went through the line was “which show do you like best?”

And I guess people get really hardcore about their reality tv. But Zach and I don’t really play a favorite?

I guess we typically get more into Big Brother than any of the rest but we never miss a season of Survivor either.

Amazing Race we don’t watch together so I haven’t seen most of those seasons but happened to know a LOT of the people who were at the meet and greet!

I started watching Big Brother when I was pregnant with Kye back in 2008 and my favorite season EVER was the one when I was up late nursing Kye and got really attached to Jeff and Jordan (Jeff is my celebrity crush...).

Casey was on that season and we met him back in Vegas as well. Apparently he remembered Katie…more to come on that later πŸ˜‰

We got stuck in the line for a good while and ended up chatting a bunch with two girls who we had no clue who they were but ended up leaving feeling like our interactions with them were the BEST and wished we’d gotten pics with them!

Libby from Survivor and Laura from The Amazing Race were both so fun to talk with and I had already chatted them up in the bathroom prior to the event (also not knowing who they were). We got back to the hotel and apparently Laura won The Amazing Race. Oops.

Libby, we learned, used to be “friends” with Ariel and Cinderella at Disney so yall know I WAS ALL ABOUT THAT.

Could they please host an event to meet and greet FRIENDS of Disney Characters? We’ve met a friend of Aladdin once who was our server in Orlando and I just love chatting them up and picking their brains.

Laura and Libby talked a good bit with us about their respective shows and I do wish Katie and I had come up with questions PRIOR to the event.

If/when we attend again I’m totally going to come with questions prepared!

I’ve always wondered if people on The Amazing Race who get sent home actually go home and the answer is no, just like Big Brother and Survivor they don’t actually go home when eliminated.

I also have always wondered about shaving on Survivor. That and periods. Like what do girls do if it’s that time of the month?

I learned that NO they CANNOT SHAVE on Survivor. So waxing before leaving is crucial. And that they ARE allowed to take birth control since it’s a medicine so most of the girls skip their period. I’m sure that the crazy environment and stress and lack of nutrition also probably makes them skip it naturally anyway?

I do wish the name tags and signature book specified who WON their seasons b/c I felt bad when we’d realize later that we’d been chatting with a winner and didn’t know it.

Wendell played a super loyal and honest game on Survivor and both Zach and I enjoyed him his season (and he won)

Katie and I were confused why Meg, from Big Brother, was sitting with all the Survivor people. We found out LATER that she’s dating a guy who WON Survivor. We literally passed him up and didn’t even get a photo or anything and now feel bad!

I was pumped to meet Rick Devins as he played a pretty epic game his season. He was sitting right next to the winner from his season (Chris) and I basically called him out for not deserving to win…sooooo I didn’t ask for a photo with him after that…

Joe and Sierra from Survivor were def the biggest draw in the room and were super nice and friendly!

I think talking to the most recent casts were the most entertaining. Not only were their seasons fresher on our minds but they were still very into the game they had played.

Reem was so funny b/c she was SO BITTER still about being the first one out on her season. Wendy was Zach’s least fav so it was funny to me to get a pic with her.

Big Brother is def the show Katie is the most into and this season we set up our own BB Fantasy League with Katie, Zach and myself πŸ˜‰

We drafted players and had fun talking to the current former houseguests from the season.

Kemi had been my first pick on my team!

Sam was the best to talk to, he was SUPER nice and he had JUST been voted out the week prior. He said he left the house, went home for three days then flew down for the event.

I had a lot of questions for him since he’s a father.

If I had to pick a show to be on (other than going back in time and making it on Real World...) it would FOR SURE be Big Brother.

I feel like it’s my game πŸ˜‰ I wouldn’t prob win any comps but the social part I think I’d enjoy and even possibly be good at!

But I can’t FATHOM being away from my family that long and Sam confirmed those feelings. He said being away from his kids was TORTURE and that he couldn’t even really express those feelings b/c most people in the house are super young and don’t have kids so they don’t “get it” and will see that as a sign of weakness.

I also asked about how he dealt with being around all those younger girls in bikinis all the time and knowing his wife would see everything and worrying she’d be upset or that he’d possibly come across as flirting etc.

He said boundaries were SUPER important and that looked at the girls like children (which Zach and I totally feel that same way…college kids? ARE KIDS now to us. #oldage) but was very mindful to keep a distance etc.

Elena was our overall favorite to meet as she was SO NICE. She was the only person truly mingling with everyone in line (everyone else was behind a table) and it didn’t go unnoticed!

She and Mark recently did a show on MTV called Ex Island I think? I saw some promos and I asked them about that and she said she got a great edit but that his was awful.

The last season of Big Brother was Katie’s fav ever and I totally “get it” b/c I was SO INTO the season with Jeff and Jordan. I am sad there wasn’t a meet and greet that year b/c I would have DIED.

Zach and I also agree with Katie that last season of BB was among THE best if not the very best!

It was awesome to meet so many of our favs from the season!

Casey won the season and had a video crew with her doing filming for her YouTube Channel which was kinda awkward b/c we didn’t know what they were filming for and they were all in our faces haha

Angela and Tyler had such a cute romance on their season and Angela wrote a book which Katie had her sign. Angela has a super interesting life story and is quite the entrepreneur. You can buy her book, Unbothered, here!

Along with our signature books Katie and I wanted to get hats signed too!

Hats have become our THING after our New York trip so we thought it’d be fun to have everyone sign a hat and wanted to come up with something cute and meaningful to have on it.

We bought these hats and got these patches!

Extremely long story short – years ago (actually over a decade ago but who’s counting?) we had a group of friends and were at dinner and decided to eat “friendship bread” to unify us and make our group “official”

Fast-forward to now and Zach, Katie and I are the only friendship bread members left πŸ˜‰

So naturally the name of our BB Fantasy League is “Friendship Bread” and our cute little patches were a great conversation starter as we made our way through the line!

Our hats turned out super cute and we really had SO MUCH FUN at the meet and greet!

After we finished up we walked around Celebration a little bit and grabbed some coffee and a bite to eat then headed back to the hotel to get ready for the second event of the day – Decade Night.

We were super smart and scoped out the location for the event that night and decided to get there super early and eat dinner at the restaurant well before the event started.

It worked out great and looking back we totally should have just kept our table at the restaurant and mingled with people that way.

With the decade theme we decided to go with 80’s without even giving it much thought b/c we had stuff from Casey’s 80s birthday party a couple of years ago!

Of course though I had basically gotten rid of everything I wore to that event and just ended up buying something.

Yall I had so much fun getting this outfit and was so comfortable for the night!

Katie though LOOKED AMAZING. Her dress was THE talk of the night and it literally glowed in the dark! EPIC.

We enjoyed our meal and loved reading all the fun Celebration Facts about the area (yall know I love me some Disney trivia).

The vibe of the event that evening was more in line with the event in Vegas.

The talent mostly mingled with each other so it was kinda awkward to go up to people. However the people watching WAS pretty EPIC so we enjoyed that!

It was also fun seeing all the costumes people came up with and we had fun but preferred the meet and greet situation over the night event.

The only person that was there that night that wasn’t there earlier that day was Evil Dick which was awesome to get to meet him!

We mostly just talked to people we’d already met and kinda just worked around the restaurant a few times before heading out.

Yall know Zach and I don’t drink and don’t visit bars or those sorts of scenes. The event was at a restaurant but it was kinda like an Applebees situation where they have a bar within the restaurant.

The restaurant itself closed for the private event so the whole place was taken over by the reality people and VIP attendees.

Basically it was LOUD so the little mingling we did was brief b/c you literally could hear. I know, I’m an old lady – I’ll own it πŸ˜‰

Two really great moments DID happen at the Decades Event so let’s chat about those πŸ˜‰

Moment One: While waiting (and waiting…and waiting) for a cup of water we met this fellow VIPer who was so funny and fun and shared how he has a massive crush on Scotty. From Big Brother. Which was just really random and hilarious.

He said his whole goal for being there was to meet Scotty. As Katie and I left the event we ran into Scotty outside and warned him what was lying ahead once he entered the event.

Yall it was hilarious how straight scared he was about going inside and how he kept talking to us and basically wanting us to linger so he could avoid going in.

Moment Two: My personal favorite moment of the weekend. Although probably Katie’s least favorite.

So when we met Casey earlier in the day he signed Katie’s hat with “call me” and was very flirty with her in the line.

We get to the decade event and omg yall he totally hit on her. And I didn’t know what to do. This is not something I’m used to having happen! It was HILARIOUS.

She was NOT INTO IT but I didn’t know and didn’t step in like I should have. Apparently helping navigate creepy dude moments is not my strong suit.

Thankfully Katie was laughing about it all too after it all happened and thankfully he was respectful once he realized his advances weren’t being reciprocated (I’m pretty sure he realized it wasn’t going to happen before I even did hahaha).

Hilarious way to end the evening!

We got back to the room and were just super energized from all the loudness of the night and the funny moments.

I think we sat for a good 90 min or so just laughing and scrolling IG and going deep into the whole “whatever happened to so and so…” situations.

It was so fun! I love the friendship Katie and I share. All the memories we have together and how everything is just always so easy and natural and that we just KNOW each other and know we can count on each other for anything (except for stopping creepy dudes apparently ha!).

We headed home the next morning and it was awesome getting home feeling REFRESHED and WELL RESTED!

Usually weekends away are exhausting but this one was so chill and relaxing and filled with so much sleep and so much fun!

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Emily Parker

Hey Y’all, I’m Emily! I’m a stay at home mom and consider parenting to be my passion. Disney is my happiest place and I love making memories as a family together. I’m a big believer in transparency and share all of my real-life moments as a mother of four.

My work has been featured on Today Parenting and Babywise.Life. I’m also honored to be a member of the Babywise Friendly Blog Network.

You can read more about our family on my About Me page. Also be sure to follow along with me on Instagram, FacebookΒ and Pinterest!

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