Fun at Disney?

imageBy Lesley Rousso


We took the kids to Walt Disney World over the weekend during Spring Break.  Let me clarify that as a Disney expert and Floridian, I would never normally go during such a crowded time of year.  We had to be in Orlando for my daughters cheer competition though, and I thought a couple of days at Disney after, was a good idea.  Well, not so much.

I’ll start off prefacing this with my vast Disney experience.  I have been going yearly since I was six years old; I’m forty-one now, you do the math. Some years I’d even go two  to three times, and I  have rarely stayed off Disney property.  I’ve stayed at every hotel except two, The Grand Floridian and The Coronado Springs.  My personal favorite is one of the original hotels, The Contemporary.

Disney breaks down their hotels into categories of value, moderate and deluxe.  Prices vary during different times of the year and for Florida residents.  You can get a great deal, if you know what you’re doing.  My husband always asks for an upgrade and we almost always get it for free.  Can’t hurt to ask, if they have it, they’ll give it.  Anyway, I booked the Caribbean Beach Resort which is on the moderate level of the Disney resorts.   To be honest, normally I would’ve tried for The Contemporary or  another of the deluxe hotels.  We had however, just spent two nights at the Orlando Hyatt for cheer which wasn’t cheap and with five of us we always need two rooms or a suite.

We stayed at the Caribbean Beach once when our boys were little, before the cheer girl. It was totally fine.  Now, it is in serious need of an overhaul. I love my Disney, ask anyone who knows me. I am a hundred percent, Pro Disney.  I’m not going to bitch about the crowds or lines because I knew what I was getting into during Spring break.  Instead, I’ll tell you that a company that prides themselves on customer service and their guests is letting it slip.  One of my children, who shall remain nameless, but it’s not who you think, left the iPhone charger in the room at the Hyatt.  We didn’t realize this until arriving on Disney property. So I thought, “okay, no biggie, I’ll buy a new charger at the hotel.”  In my defense I had what I thought was two chargers plus my Brookstone mophie device. All I needed was the plug that goes into the wall.  I had every cord, just no plug.  So, we check into our connecting rooms which, by the way, really need a refurb, and after walking a hundred miles to the food court/store area I went in to buy a charger. As a side note, for some reason the check in area is in a separate building a mile a way from the store area, bizarre. In the store meanwhile, guess what? No charger. No plug. No nothing. Okay not entirely true. They had a RayoVac mophie type thing that you put AA batteries in and it charges your phone.   This would’ve been fine if the batteries actually lasted longer than two hours and provided more that a trickle of charge. Plus I am not a fan of RayoVac. Sorry, not sorry. The Walt Disney company should also be aware that none of their employees in The Caribbean Beach hotel have any knowledge of phones, chargers or as Max would say, “Rachet mophies.”

Later that day poor Ethan got the Disney virus and I had to stay with him the following morning while the other three were at Hollywood Studios.  I went to get something to eat for Ethan in the food court. He had been throwing up so I wanted something unfried and plain.  I got him pasta and wanted butter for it.  What I got was butter “spread”. Yuck.  I’m not sure how people can’t believe it’s not butter.  It’s more than obvious it’s not butter.  I also wanted  something on the healthier side for myself.   I tried to order a sandwich without tomato. They refused to make me one without, saying they were premade. I know this is a lie because they day before Darren,my husband  had them make one without.  I told them this but they couldn’t care less.  I ate a side salad for lunch that was the size of my hand.  For a company that I feel, considers themselves as a powerhouse in the industry they really need to take a better look at some of their customer service policies.  People vacationing, especially at a place where you are spending money hand over fist, need convenience and choices. Especially healthier choices. Of course we had fun, we always do, it is Disney World afterall.

Reality Roundup: Teresa Giudice CASH ONLY Bookgate, Atlanta Hoedown Throwdown, and Bethenny Returns to Bravo

From Left to Right: Kenya Moore with RHOA co-stars Cynthia Bailey, NeNe Leakes, and Porsa Stewart (Source: 5pinkave)

It was a Hoedown Throwdown this past Thursday during the taping of The Real Housewives of Atlanta’s season six reunion.   

Kenya Moore and Porsha Stewart got into a brief physical altercation during the filming, People confirmed. Adding that Porsha was sent home after the brawl broke out and was not allowed to finish filming.

“A fight broke out that had to be broken up,” a source told the mag. Things allegedly got heated between the feuding stars when Porsha went after Kenya during an argument. “There was definitely some hair pulling, but no one was injured. It was broken up so quickly that nothing serious happened.” 

 Despite the reports, Kenya Moore’s rep is denying the allegations. “Miss Moore was not engaged in any physical altercation,” ABC News reports. “She adamantly condones violence and would never be involved in such behavior.”

“one thing u will NEVER see me do is fight,” Kenya tweeted last week. “Your brain and tongue are your most powerful weapons.”

Maybe we will also never see her proofing her rep’s quotes because that should have said adamantly does NOT condone violence. Let’s hope it was a misprint.

The two reality stars have been feuding since they met. This season, Kenya accused Porsha of being a “beard” for her ex-husband, NFL pro, Kordell Stewart, after their public split. The Real Housewives of Atlanta airs Sundays on Bravo.

Former Real Housewives of New York City star Bethenny Frankel reunited with her former RHONY castmate Ramona Singer last week on Watch What Happens: Live! The two bonded over their turbulent love lives and their preceding divorces.

“I’m taking everything day-by-day,”  Ramona said when asked about her separation from her husband, Mario.

Bethenny, who split from her husband Jason Hoppy in 2012, admitted that although it’s been a rough couple of months, she is finally feeling a little happier.

“Honestly, it’s been a year — 15 months — of this,” Bethenny told Andy Cohen. ” I am dating. And I’m happy. I’m good. I finally feel a little bit of liberation, a little bit of freedom, just a little bit of just not feeling so bad. It’s been a really, really hard time. Let’s put it that way.”

 The 43-year-old Skinnygirl mogul and television personality also commented on the cancellation of her self-titled daytime talk show, Bethenny.

“I felt edited and diluted, a little bit controlled,” she admitted. “And I’m not really great when I’m shackled. As you know, you have to kind of unleash the beast.”

“Ultimately, it was not what I really should be doing,” Bethenny added. “I really didn’t love it the way that I thought that I would.”

Bethenny is not going to let the cancellation of her talk show  stop her from getting right back in front of the camera.  Bethenny has been in serious talks with Andy about returning to Bravo with a new show, a source revealed to RadarOnline.

“They’ve been in deep negotiations and she is definitely ready to return to Bravo,” the source admitted. “This would be one of the first things he [Andy Cohen] produces with his new company.”

Andy Cohen started his own production company a few months back and scoring a deal with Bethenny is a high priority for the reality television guru.

As for returning to The Real Housewives of New York City, “Bethenny probably won’t stoop to that level,” a Radar insider revealed. “She thinks she’s beyond and above that.”

The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills stars, along with Andy Cohen, made their music video debuts in Lady Gaga‘s new “film” for her single “G.U.Y.” Giggy, Lisa Vanderpump’s beloved dog even got a cameo! Catch a glimpse of the ladies in the music video here.

The winners of the first ever Real Housewives Awards were announced on Watch What Happens last week. Among the award recipients was Kim DePaola, aka Kim D,  from The Real Housewives of New Jersey  who was crowned the Best Supporting Agitator. Kenya Moore added a new sash to her Miss USA collection when she was announced the Rookie of the Year and The Real Housewives of Orange County star and original housewife Vicki Gunvalson took home the gold with the Lifetime Achievement Award.

The Real Housewives of New Jersey star Teresa Giudice came under fire this past week after RadarOnline exploited the reality star for charging CASH ONLY — with no receipts — for a copy of her autographed book and a picture at a recent event.

Patrons who attended the fashion event, which was hosted by Kim D, were charged $110 for a ticket that included dinner, wine, music and a fashion show.

“Teresa was advertised as the celebrity guest and that she would be signing copies of her latest book. But nowhere was it advertised that she would be charging guests $25 to sign and take a photo with her!” a guest told Radar.

“When you walked up to her, the woman next to her was quick to advise that it was $25 and ‘cash only.’ Cash only? Who takes cash only? Even Teresa was telling guests it was ‘cash only, no receipts’ and she had bags of cash beside her where her colleague was collecting the money.”

“Why would someone insist on cash only?” the eyewitness questioned. “Everyone was saying it was clearly to avoid a paper trial of her sales.”

Teresa and her husband Joe Giudice were indicted this past summer on numerous counts of federal fraud and tax charges. Their indictment details charges of conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud, bank fraud, making false statements on loan applications, and bankruptcy fraud.

The Real Housewives of New Jersey stars entered a guilty plea to bankruptcy fraud, mail fraud, tax evasion, and numerous other charges in Newark Federal Court on March 4th, 2014 and the couple could be facing months behind bars.

After reports surfaced of Teresa’s book signing stunt, Giudice announced that she donated the proceeds from the cash she collected to charity, and sent a $400 check to The Nephcure Foundation.

“The arrangement was always that Teresa would be giving all proceeds to the Nephcure Foundation, which seeks to find a cure for debilitating kidney diseases,” a source told Radar Online. “Teresa had several expenses related to the book signing, and several vendors that had to be paid. All of the profits were donated to the charity. In no way whatsoever was Teresa trying to make a quick buck.”

 According to our sources, filming for the sixth season of The Real Housewives of New Jersey has wrapped. Teresa and her RHONJ castmates are set to make their return to Bravo this summer. Seems filming is on the same timeline as  the last go round. It was one year ago tonight that the cast was involved in a big brawl that ended up last season’s finale, and landed some of them in court.


Tell us— What do you think of Teresa’s “Bookgate”? Do you want Bethenny back on Bravo? Leave a comment below and voice your opinion! Your email will never be sold or shared. 

Do you have a submission or idea for next week’s Reality Roundup? Email your thoughts!

Let Them Go…

Last spring they discovered the high slide with help. Now they go it...gulp...alone.

Last spring they discovered the high slide with help. Now they go it…gulp…alone.

“You need to relax and just let them do what they are going to do.”

“Excuse me?”

“Things are going to happen. They will fall, they will get hurt. You have to accept that”

The stranger with the #RandomUnsolicitedAdvice this time was not me, but an older woman at the park. She was watching her grandson explore the jungle gym calmly while I paced, grimaced, and called out nervously to my three year olds.

“You raised some boys of your own?,” I said to her slightly embarrassed that my neurosis were  that obvious.

“One of each and there were lots of broken bones,” she smiled.

Gee, thanks lady, like this is supposed to calm me while my two most prized possessions hop, skip, and run on what looks to me like the Sears Tower of jungle gyms. Every single opening a potential for a slip, a fall, and then God knows what.

One of my earliest memories is being five years old at the ballet. My grandmother had season tickets to the City Opera and took me to my first ballet. My mother was with us. I remember being in a dress and excited to be in a balcony seat. It was like having a terrace in a theater. From this balcony I had a clear view of the stage, nobody’s big melon of an adult head blocking my view like in the movie theater. I leaned a bit over to take a closer peek. Then I felt it…the frantic tug on the back of my dress. My mother, terrified of heights, was pulling me back. “She won’t fall,” somebody said. “I won’t fall,” I protested, but that frantic pull continued all throughout the performance, just one fraction of an inch leaning forward and it yanked me back, not to safety but to my mother’s own perceived comfort zone.

I recently read that when Eleanor Roosevelt was a child she was on the Britannic as it sank. She was dropped from the ship into the arms of her father in a lifeboat below. Roosevelt was petrified of heights and sailing from that day forward. I thought about how she must have gotten onto that ship excited and fearless…only to never want to board one again. Though far more traumatic than my mother tugging at the back of my frock at the ballet, the concept is similar. All it takes is one bad experience, or the impact of a loved one’s phobia to change your outlook forever. I entered that ballet like Eleanor, excited, fearless, and left it a little changed. It’s the last time I remember being comfortable up high.

Since that day I have been a nervous wreck when myself or anyone in my field of vision is in any danger of falling. I once had a terrible public argument with my husband for standing too close with his back to the edge of a cliff at a park. He saw my concern as irrational, I saw his positioning as one slip, one misstep, one push from a child or dog…both running freely in the area…from sudden death. We have not gone back to that park, once a favorite place of ours, since that day.

My fear of heights means I will not sit on a wall Humpty Dumpty style (he did suffer a great fall you know), ride a hot air balloon, or tour a beautiful city in a helicoptor. I won’t go repelling like the ladies of Real Housewives of Orange County did, or tightrope walk like the gang on Real Housewives of New Jersey. I won’t climb a great mountain, or, as I’ve gotten more and more fearful over the years, even ride a roller coaster anymore. Don’t even ask me what it takes to get me on a plane…perhaps the poor soul who had to listen to my hungover misery on a connecting flight from Munich to Rome may want to cover that one.

Will being afraid of heights stunt my day to day life? No, but as I pointed out above there are amazing adventures that just do not appeal to me. The fear outweighs the thrill. This fear that, because I can control just what risks I take and don’t, gets projected onto those around me. My husband by that cliff, my kids by that threatening opening too close to the slide they like to descend. So there I was, with my eyes bouncing in different directions like a chameleon’s trying to hold the gaze of two little boys. Two fearless, excited little boys who just wanted to enjoy the first warm spring day at the park, whose killjoy of a mother was peppering their adventure with ,”Don’t get too close”, “Slow down”, “You’re too little to climb that!” Then the voice of that woman…voice of reason…sort of.

I’m still not sure if this woman was a careless parent whose kids always got hurt, but there was some validity to her advice. As much as I like to think these two vibrant miraculous beings are mine forever, in many ways they won’t be. They aren’t possessions, they are human beings and I do have to let them fly and fall. Be it hopefully not off the unreasonably high structure at the park, but somewhere, at sometime, in someplace they will fall down and I won’t be there to catch them. I won’t be there to hold them back…and do I want my fears to be embedded in their brains doing just that? Do I want them to someday miss the view from above because I was too scared to look at it with my own eyes? I smiled at the stranger and like a gift from God an old friend caught the corner of my eye and our conversation was the perfect distraction. With my eyes still following them, but my mind otherwise engaged, my sons continued to play…happy, excited, fearless…and they didn’t fall.