It has been a long time since I last posted, but I haven’t been nearly as mobile as I’d like. There are a lot of reasons for this… but the biggest one is simple.
I spent 84 days in Palmetto, FL in this building. FES is an amazing complex of shops, offices, and rehearsal spaces. It literally houses every phase from concept to test audiences for the largest privately owned entertainment company in the world. While I was in the building we had several projects through.
Everything from decade old shows that needed a little love and a refurb period, to new projects like Trolls The Experience, Disney On Ice: Mickey’s Search Party and of course Sesame Street Live! Make Your Magic. All of this magic is conceived, built and cared for out of this facility. Which means a large majority of what I was seeing on a daily basis is proprietary and not stuff I can tell you about.
The show that I spent the most time with other than my own was Disney On Ice: Mickey’s Search Party. I wasn’t directly involved with it, but I did have my desk in their rehearsal space for almost a month. This show is amazing. They have aerial routines, tumbling, pyro, hover boards, Disney Characters, and of course amazing ice skating. Once it was open I went to Orlando for their opening and managed to capture just a bit of the magic from my seat.
Of course I didn’t spend all of my time in the studio. I also spent 84 nights at the same hotel. I often would set up camp by the pool and do paperwork.
I also spent quite a few nights hanging out with fellow Feld employees by this very pool.
I think one of the best parts about the hotel was Greta. Greta was one of the nigh-time desk staff and she was the gatekeeper to all of the shenanigans that happened in the hotel. Thank god she was more amused by our antics than she was the children’s sports teams that came through. There was the baseball tournament where the kids dented cars in the parking lot with a football. There was the hockey kids who set up hockey goals in the hallways and played at all hours of the night, the figure skaters squealing as the run up and down the hallway… and of course the drunk parents who came along with all of these groups.
Greta was more of a Dorm Mom than anything else. I saw her chase down kids in the parking lot, confiscate sporting equipment, catch shop lifting kids, scold parents for not watching their kids, and negotiate disorderly drunks to bed. All of this while my merry band sat by the pool cheering for her and heckling those foolish enough to cross Greta. I really wish I had a picture of Greta, next year when I return to Palmetto I am going to have to get one.
Another reason Greta got serious bonus points in my book is because she bothered to get to know us. She knew what shows we all worked on, who had kids, who liked whiskey, who liked wine, who had significant others at home, and most impressively the significant others name and how long till they came to visit. Greta literally had a countdown for me starting at 10 days till Caitlyn came to visit.
That was the other highlight of Palmetto, Caitlyn took a few days off work and came down. It was her first time being around my road family. I had to work almost everyday she was here, so I really wasn’t much good for company, but she got to meet my cast, crew, and staff. I think she started to understand how crazy my life is.
Well friends, after 84 days I moved to Tampa, FL. Our first load in was a bit rough, but we got moved in, set up and opened a show.
Opening night, means an opening night party. So of course Caitlyn came down. She spent most of her visit focused on pool side reading this time around. However when opening night happened not only did she put on a beautiful dress, but she sat through Sesame Street Live! Make Your Magic! That’s right, she witnessed the toddler mosh pit and still wanted to go to the hot mess that is an opening night party. I think it is safe to say that she has now fully seen me in my element.
After Tampa we moved to Lakeland, FL for a few days and yesterday we had a one day stop in St. Petersburg.
One day stops are the worst. On a one day stop we start at 4am and then 17 hours later we walk out again. It makes for a very long day and I may have made an error in judgment that resulted in my arm getting smashed in a crate door. The good news is that nothing is broken, the bad news is that my arm was numb and pretty useless for the 2nd half of the day… That being said, things came together beautifully. We made a 1pm meet and greet, had 2 shows, and then loaded out in under 4 hours. For a 3rd stop on a tour, that is freaking impressive. I am legit proud of the crew and how they have come together to achieve this!
So now I am on a bus headed towards Miami. Expect there to be adventures, and expect to hear from me more often now that my show is open. Until next time my friends!