Theater And More In NYC

Hi friends! I recently got to spend an entire week seeing shows and friends and family in NYC. It was really amazing, and I thought you’d want to hear about it! I’ll be talking more about the shows themselves on our Finishing The Season podcast, so subscribe wherever you get your podcasts if you don’t want to miss that.

Day 1:

Day 1 of my adventures began with a pre-dawn outing to the bus station (driven by Ross) and then making an Amtrak connection in Boston. When I arrived in NYC, I immediately headed toward the ferry and then walked for about a half hour to get to my (free) apartment for the week in Hoboken, New Jersey. It was a pleasant and largely uneventful trip, and I was delighted to see my host and tour my lovely home for the week. (Fifth floor walk-up = quite the workout!) Exhausted from my trip, I participated in my group’s mastermind call and then relaxed for a few before heading back into the city. My destination? 54 Below for Jonathan Larson’s “The Jonathan Larson Project”. Five years of research went into this history-making concert, conceived by Jennifer Tepper, and I got to experience its closing performance in all its glory. (I also had a tasty burger and greens and followed it up with some delicious gelato! There’s a food/drink minimum at the club, but the food is great.) As planned, I then called a Lyft after the late show, and I swear the driver was there within seconds. Perks of being in a big city! I returned “home” uneventfully.Musicals and Broadway, NYC | Ross and Jamie Adventure

Day 2:

Day 2, a Monday, saw me sleeping in, getting a bit of work done and then heading out to a local market for food supplies to get me through the week. I had brought most of my own snacks from NH (much cheaper) but I picked up a couple of vegetables and yogurt. My only frustration was that they stole some money from me, charging me for fish I didn’t buy. And for once I didn’t look at the receipt before I left the store. 😦 Oh well. When I got back, I prepared my vegetables (spinach and butternut squash) for breakfast. Then I packed dinner and headed into the city to enter the lottery for Once On This Island. Lucky for me, I won (and another single person and I had teamed up, so he won as well), and for $49.50 I got to see this Tony-winning revival. Besides one slightly pitchy cast member, the show was stupendous, with an incredible set and an understudy for the lead who was really transformative. Circle in the Square continues to be a favorite Broadway house and I loved it, and although there aren’t bad seats there, my seats were really awesome. Afterwards I learned how to take the NJ Transit bus back to Hoboken (thanks for the encouragement, Google!).Musicals and Broadway, NYC | Ross and Jamie Adventure

Day 3:

Tuesday was an earlier morning, and I woke and packed my lunch and snacks for later. This morning my goal was to get to Come From Away in time for a rush ticket. I was about the seventh person in line, which meant no seats were left, but I was the first to get standing room for only $32.50. What a deal! After I got my tickets, I met my host and friend for lunch at Dig Inn (outstanding), got ice cream at Van Leeuewens (best in NYC I think) and then made my way downtown for the 9/11 Memorial & Museum. Google first directed me to a different museum that’s been there for a while and maintained by the families and friends of the victims, so I visited there first. The first visit was good. The Memorial was really pretty and the museum next to it is extremely well done. After a powerful afternoon, I headed back toward the theater…the real reason I came here. Wow. Come From Away is a gorgeous score and an absolutely stunning production, with a stellar cast (I saw a few understudies but mostly the original cast) and incredible direction…This show is just outstanding. A highlight of my trip, for sure, and possibly the highlight. I took the PATH train back to Hoboken afterwards.Musicals and Broadway, NYC | Ross and Jamie AdventureVan Leeuwens, New York, NY | In Search of a Scoop

Day 4:

Day 4, a Wednesday, was another slower start. I still had plenty of work to attend to in the morning, but doing it while lying in bed was a treat. I also attended to entering lotteries and deciding on my show priorities for the day. When I didn’t get my dream shows, that set my course for the day. Then I set off on a mission – to check out Torico, the closest homemade ice cream place to my apartment. This Jersey City location is OUTSTANDING and I was blown away by the service, the prices and best of all the sesame seed and peppermint candy ice creams. Follow my In Search Of A Scoop posts if you want the full write up! After ice cream (which I walked a half hour for), I took the train into NYC and then took the subway to Midtown for my first show of the day: Head Over Heels! I hadn’t done a ton of research on this one, but the reviews were great, the music was The Go-Go’s and wow, am I glad I chose this one! It’s set in Elizabethan times with gorgeous costumes and sets and lots of rhyming couplets but it’s a decidedly now musical, with a wonderful score and a plot worthy of today. It was also a thrill to see Alexandra Socha of NH originating a major role in a Broadway musical. For this one, I got to see the entire original cast, and I’m so glad, because if there’s any rhyme or reason to the world, this one will get some Tony recognition next season. Go see this now, while there are plenty of seats available and you can get digital rush seats for cheap through TodayTix! I saw this from the literal front row center. Amazing!Musicals and Broadway, NYC | Ross and Jamie AdventureTorico, Jersey City, NJ | In Search of a Scoop

After my first show, Google told me where the best gluten-free bagels were in NewYork, and I do believe I found them! I had a gluten-free bagel with lox and scallion cream cheese and I remembered how wonderful New York is. 🙂 And then I headed to Renascence, a weird and wonderful show about Edna St. Vincent Millay with a small cast of extraordinary singers and actors, including Jason Gotay, who I’d loved in Bring It On. The location on the Lower East Side was the only one that made me really nervous during my NYC visit, but I kept my wits about me and got home safely without panicking. Also, rush tickets for this were super cheap – $25!Musicals and Broadway, NYC | Ross and Jamie Adventure

Day 5:

On Thursday, after again losing the reach lotteries (alas), I settled on Desperate Measures, a cowboy Western off-Broadway take on Shakespeare’s Measure For Measure. I got tickets to the evening show, which gave me time to visit the Met for a donation. I also returned to Torico for another cup of ice cream. Yes, it’s that good!

Unfortunately for me, I learned when I arrived that the Met changed their policy in March, so now if you aren’t local, you can’t set your own rate for tickets. 😦 But after a quick visit to Central Park and a consultation with my brother, I headed to the natural history museum, which still lets you pay what you like and was an easy walk from where I was! I had a fun and really interesting lesson in museums and sociology and such as I observed not only humans and animals but also the historical exhibits and what they did and didn’t highlight. It was fascinating. After all that, it was time for a dinner stop at Shake Shack (yayyy for gluten-free buns! Delicious chocolate custard!) and then I caught Desperate Measures. Which you should all go and see before it closes. So much fun and a truly talented cast of characters and a super fun plot I wasn’t familiar with before this.Museum of Natural History, New York, NY | Ross and Jamie Adventure

Day 6:

On Friday, I woke up bright and early, tended to emails and headed out to spend the day visiting MoMa for the first time. The Museum of Modern Art has been on my list for more than a dozen years, and it was such a thrill to finally visit! (Tickets are $25 but they are totally worth it.)

I had no guide or plan for my visit, except that I knew I wanted to see everything before I left. Luckily for me, the very first exhibit I went to was my favorite, so I had lots of time to see it. “Judson Dance Theater: The Work Is Never Done” was an astonishing exhibit that I will absolutely never forget. I should explain that not only am I dancer first before a theater artist and musician, but I’m also a geek about dance history in the same way I am a geek about theater history. But like theater, dance is an ephemeral art form, and although I’ve read a lot about companies like Judson Dance Theater, I’ve very seldom gotten to see any of their work.Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY | Ross and Jamie Adventure

So this exhibit was a dream come true. I saw dance work recorded for film as well as tons of clips from dance productions, and I listened to audio interviews with members of the company. I read a ton and geeked out over pictures. And when I finished my exploration, I happened to wander in and catch a modern dance performance by a few dancers from the company.

I then explored the rest of the museum. I love modern art and art of the 20th century, and I really love impressionism, and all of this was well-represented at the museum. They also have a beautiful sculpture garden, so I enjoyed the sculptures while I had lunch.

When I had completed my visit, Ross let me know his bus into NYC was running late, so I got into place to view a dance performance by some of the founders of Judson Dance Theater! Deborah Hay and her dance partner revisited a work that they’ve been performing for more than fifty years, with two different video screens, audio recordings, their own dance and their own voice. The company featured about twenty dancers and it was unlike anything I’ve seen live. The exhibit explained that their work was heavily influenced by twelve tone music and the other art of the era. It was incredibly special, and it was all free with my ticket for the day.

Unfortunately Ross’ bus was super super late to NYC, but eventually he made it into Port Authority. Then we headed to the Museum of the Motion Picture to join my brother for a free night focused on an incredible Jim Henson exhibit. We followed it up with ice cream at a new to me place, Ice & Vice. (The story of that visit will be great fodder for a future post, so follow In Search of a Scoop if you like a good ice cream adventure!)Fun with family | Ross and Jamie AdventureMuseum of the Moving Picture, New York, NY | Ross and Jamie Adventure

It was wonderful to see Scott, and we got home uneventfully on the bus.

Day 7:

Saturday with Ross we were bound for his choice of adventures, which focused on the Nintendo store! We also visited another newto me ice cream place and met a really sweet couple, their child and their two service dogs in training. We also went underground at Rockefeller Plaza for the first time, and I found a wonderful place for a casual and affordable gluten-free meal (I went with soup and salad), Ross visited GameStop and we both fell in love with their bookstore full of quirky stuffed animals, puppets and adorable books.

We were pretty worn out, so we relaxed on a bench for a while before grabbing a coffee (for Ross), a treat to share and made out way to the theater for the reason for our trip: The Band’s Visit!

The show was absolutely outstanding (we’ll discuss it much more on Finishing The Season), and we relished every minute of it. It was a wonderful way to conclude my week of theater.Fun stuff | Ross and Jamie Adventure

Day 8:

Our final day was pretty uneventful. We took the ferry into NYC (Ross loves a boat) and then took our time walking uptown to meet our bus. Along the way we found lunch for each of us, including pizza for Ross, and our luxury bus ride back was refereshing with included snacks and drinks (including lots of gluten-free options) and a comfortable place to sit.

We are incredibly thankful to our host and to Scott and to everything and everyone that helped make this trip possible. And I’m truly thankful that Ross supported me making it happen!

p.s. Subscribe to our podcast, Finishing The Season if you want more show details and follow In Search Of A Scoop for all the ice cream reviews!

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Return to Boulder

We recently returned to Boulder. We visited some of our favorite spots, including the bookstore and a delicious fast casual Brazilian restaurant called Five on Black where almost the entire place is gluten-free.Boulder, CO | Ross and Jamie Adventure

Unfortunately our yoga class was canceled due to rain, but we did visit a tasty chocolate food truck to sample drinking chocolate and a truffle, and we still had a fun gig at The Laughing Goat.Ice Cream Social, Fort Collins, CO | In Search of a Scoop

We also got to meet Shack, a wonderful blues performer who opened for us. He’s extremely talented and will be representing Colorado and competing at the international competition this year! Ice Cream Social, Fort Collins, CO | In Search of a ScoopWe’ve only got a few weeks left here, so we are doing our best to make the most of it and not get stressed about the silly stuff. We are also continuing to work on booking gigs in our free time.

We are excited to return to New England. From visiting family and friends to eating at our favorite places and cooking with local produce, there’s a lot to look forward to. And we have tons of teaching and performing to do too!

Thanks for following our journey, and let us know if you have ideas for us this fall.

Knowing When To Say No

I’ve been struggling recently with knowing when to say no. When do we say no to a job opportunity? A networking opportunity? A discount for a thing we wouldn’t have done otherwise?

I’ve been spending a lot of time working on articulating what is essential and what is flexible in my life. The answers are constantly evolving. What does it take for us to settle down? Is there a perfect job? A perfect location? When does it get close enough to perfect that the difference isn’t of much consequence?

We are truly in love with Colorado. Yesterday we visited Greeley and Windsor; two more great communities in the corridor that we could envision ourselves living in.

And yet, we are nowhere near being able to afford a house here. Is that okay? Will we ever buy a house? Is living in an RV (or maybe a pet-friendly apartment) and renting a small studio space good enough? And if so, how long will that be true?

There are more questions with every answer. For now, we’ll keep the faith and do the work and trust that if we build it, they will come, whether they are clients or job opportunities or a clear next step or location.

Settling in and Kitten Adventures

We’ve now been in Fort Collins for about a week and a half, and we’re happy to be stretching our legs a bit after a month or so of RV travel. It’s always nice to settle in…not having to pack up regularly and having full hookups (that we don’t have to pay for) are major perks that make giving up regular travel easier.

Of course, we aren’t the type to sit still! We’ve already visited local music and gaming stores, sampled homemade ice cream and gelato, and today, we visited Longmont, CO’s great downtown and explored a bookstore, music store and a dedicated gluten-free bakery and cafe. (It’s definitely a town we will return to. The cafe was fabulous, and there’s a homemade ice cream place we haven’t tried yet!)

Bakery Display at Aime's Love, Longmont, CO | Ross and Jamie Adventure
Bakery Display at Aime’s Love, Longmont, CO
Alley art, Longmont, CO | Ross and Jamie Adventure
Beautiful alley art in Longmont, CO
Gelato & aMore, Fort Collins, CO | Ross and Jamie Adventure
All the deliciousness at Gelato & aMore, Fort Collins, CO
The Woodshed, Fort Collins, CO | Ross and Jamie Adventure
Visiting one The Woodshed in Fort Collins, CO
Walrus Ice Cream, Fort Collins, CO | Ross and Jamie Adventure
The bright exterior of Walrus Ice Cream in Fort Collins, CO
RV Site in Fort Collins, CO | Ross and Jamie Adventure
Settled in for the summer!

We’re truly enjoying being so close to great food and services with a view of the Rockies in the background. Today the kittens went to the vet…we’ve got a couple of infections to treat and have a couple of medications to give out daily. Squeak was cool as a cucumber the entire time, and there’s really not much cuter than a cat carrier full of kittens and mom.

Cats in an RV, Fort Collins, CO | Ross and Jamie Adventure
Squeak and Bear (formerly known as Groot)
Kittens in Colorado | Ross and Jamie Adventure
What a face, right?

Kittens in an RV | Ross and Jamie Adventure

Kittens in an RV | Ross and Jamie Adventure
Haley Joel Osment in repose

The campground work is off to a good start, and we’ve got some great employees to work with. It’s a beautiful campground, and I’m especially excited about the nature walk, which I typically walk twice a day. Here are some of the gorgeous photos from my walks around the campground.Fort Collins, CO | Ross and Jamie AdventureFort Collins, CO | Ross and Jamie AdventureFort Collins, CO | Ross and Jamie AdventureFort Collins, CO | Ross and Jamie AdventureFort Collins, CO | Ross and Jamie AdventureFort Collins, CO | Ross and Jamie AdventureFort Collins, CO | Ross and Jamie Adventureimg_2169Fort Collins, CO | Ross and Jamie AdventureFort Collins, CO | Ross and Jamie Adventure

We’re hoping to make quick trips to Boulder and Denver, as well as Colorado Springs, while we are here for the summer. We’d also love to book some gigs on our days off.

Want to host us for a night? Have ideas on where we need to visit? Let us know.

And if you enjoyed this, perhaps you’d also enjoy hearing about our adventures settling in Orlando or visiting Austin. We’ve also got a fun post on Disney for adults. Thanks for reading!

Falling in Love Can Be Fun

We’ve fallen in love, friends. With a mountain town in New Mexico. As I write this, we’ve been in New Mexico for about a week and a half, and we’ve got less than a week before we start work in Colorado. We’ve had such an amazing trip so far. After where my last post left off, we spent a few nights in Texas, including our first night at an Army Corps of Engineers park. Ross and Jamie AdventureCampsite | Ross and Jamie AdventureIt was insanely gorgeous, with water views at our site, and I only wished the nature preserve across the street had been open while we were there. (They even had a little conference room I was able to work in the next morning before we left!)

The nice thing about having to plug in every other night (due to our house batteries being too weak to power the fridge) is we’ve gotten to check out all sorts of beautiful campgrounds along our route. We spent one night in Las Cruces, a city we really love in New Mexico, and we liked the campground so much it’s on our list to return for a month this winter. They’ve got fantastic internet and are actually within walking distance or just about to lots of great restaurants and ice cream.

After our night in Las Cruces, we made our way toward Silver City, New Mexico. We had two gigs in Silver City, both on Friday evenings, and when we saw how charming Silver City was (especially the downtown, where we played our shows), we knew we wanted to stay all week. After our gig at Diane’s Restaurant, I decided with the generous tips we’d received we could justify splurging and staying at Rose Valley RV Park, which is definitely the prettiest campground we’ve ever been to. (Especially for a private campground!) Rose Valley RV Park, Silver City, NM | Ross and Jamie AdventureSilver City, NM | Ross and Jamie AdventureRose Valley RV Park, Silver City, NM | Ross and Jamie AdventureRose Valley RV Park, Silver City, NM | Ross and Jamie AdventureThe sites are spacious and feel very private and you’re surrounded by nature, and there’s a walking trail and the nicest bathrooms/showers you could ask for. Plus, the laundry was really affordable and the people couldn’t be nicer, and it’s extremely convenient for exploring the city. So this is another park we’d love to come back to in the winter. (Only complaint is the internet isn’t great, but they have a little hut where it’s pretty usable for email and easy web work like I need it for, and our cell phone signal was fantastic.)

We fell completely and totally in love with Silver City. Ultimately I think Ross and I might be a little bit torn between Silver City and Las Cruces, but with Silver City being at about 5600 feet above sea level, it seems to stay about ten degrees cooler, so that wins major bonus points with us. We love Las Cruces because it has a great downtown and an arts district and a huge local food movement, and between the college, the four local (free!) museums and the local music and theater scenes, there should be plenty to keep us busy…and it’s only four hours from Tucson, and a few hours north of El Paso.

Silver City was new to us this trip, and in addition to the gorgeous scenery that seems common throughout New Mexico, we found a charming, historic downtown with an amazing urban walking trail, a great local music scene that embraces original music, tons of galleries and cafes and fantastic food and drink that we can afford. It’s a college town and seems to check all of our boxes, with the possible exception of theater, but a community theater opened in 2014 and with the support of the local community, there’s a ton of opportunity there. It’s smaller than Las Cruces, but in many ways that means there are more opportunities for us to be a big fish in a small pond. It’s also an easy two hour drive to Las Cruces or an easy one hour drive to Deming, which is a bit of a bigger city, and it’s only 3 hours from Tucson or 2.5 from El Paso (and only 4 from Albuquerque), meaning more culture and airports are available to us easily.

Silver City is on the list. The “yes, we can move here” list. Honestly, Las Cruces is too…but I think Silver City has charmed us even more somehow. We’ve still got lots of exploring to do, but we would be happy to call Silver City home when we’re ready for a stable base.

I feel like I should tell you more about what we actually did in Silver City! Lots of work, of course, between our gigs and our other work on teaching, virtual assistant work etc. Both restaurants that we played at (Diane’s Restaurant and Little Toad Creek Brewery & Distillery) had outstanding food and drinks. Diane’s definitely has a local focus – we both had outstanding burgers with local green chiles on them – and Ross enjoyed a few local brews while I was a weirdo and drank port! Very tasty. We had to rush to get to Silver City for our gig at Diane’s, so it felt a little bit like eating on the go, but it was really delicious.Ross Malcolm Boyd, Diane’s Restaurant, Silver City, NM | Ross and Jamie Adventure

Little Toad was a much more laid back experience, thankfully! We checked into our hotel room (it was really cute) downtown at about 3:30 p.m., and after chatting with the local store starting Magic games in the community (Ross) and finding the most charming café for coffee and tea (owned by a former touring musician), we rested up and headed over to Little Toad. They had a basic system in place, so Ross set it up to sound fantastic with our gear and then…we indulged.

I was so excited to have another delicious, free meal, and I wanted to make the most of it. So we started with Cowboy Irish Nachos. Homemade, crispy potato chips as the base, with seasoned beef, cheese sauce (probably the only thing about it that didn’t taste gourmet, but it was still really good), tomatoes, and green chiles….it was insanely delicious. It truly hit the spot. Then Ross had a fun burger and I had a house-smoked salmon plate, with extra tomatoes and cucumbers in place of the rye toast. Delicious and refreshing, not too heavy – which is good because I’d just eaten a ton of nachos! Then Ross was full, but I continued onward, because there was a gluten-free cheesecake! It’s described as having a hint of lemon and a gingersnap crust, and it was absolutely perfect. Perfect. I can’t wait to have it again this fall!Rose Valley RV Park, Silver City, NM | Ross and Jamie AdventureRose Valley RV Park, Silver City, NM | Ross and Jamie AdventureRose Valley RV Park, Silver City, NM | Ross and Jamie Adventure

We were also treated to some amazing drinks. I had their own tequila as the base for a Paloma, with grapefruit juice and soda with a salted rim. It wasn’t sweet, just sour and salty delicious. I also had two amazing martinis. My favorite was the Lavender Lemon Drop Martini, with their house-infused lavender syrup, but I also enjoyed the Red Chile Chocolate Martini with their own Red Chili vodka, Mexican chocolate, cinnamon and Mole bitters. Ross tried their whiskey and also enjoyed an IPA and a porter of theirs, and he was really pleased with it all.

Our show was a big success there too. The next day, I ran around grabbing a gluten-free muffin, walking the urban trail downtown, exploring the area around the Visitor’s Center (and seeing Billy the Kid’s house for two years) and I toured the local historical museum downtown, which had an exhibit on Flamenco from Santa Fe. Ross took it easy, and then we headed to Cactus Jack’s, an entirely gluten-free restaurant and grocery store, so that I could get a delicious pizza. (I also found gluten-free gnocchi for a future treat. Yum!)

We never actually got to any of the other “tourist” stuff in the area, including all of the amazing natural wonders, because we had to work and we loved taking advantage of exactly where we were for the week. But that leaves plenty for us to do when we return. We did manage a visit to Vicki’s Eatery though. It’s currently the only place to get homemade ice cream in town, but that is changing in a few months! Vicki’s ice cream was outstanding…Vicki’s Eatery, Silver City, NM | Ross and Jamie Adventure

Now we’re spending a couple of nights in Deming before heading to our next performance in Alamogordo and then north to Colorado. It’s been an incredible trip, despite the challenges.

Oh – and our cat is expecting kittens any day now. I’m pulling for Thursday morning before 10 am. Fingers crossed!

Will You Preview Our Podcast?

Hi friends! We need a few good people with an interest in good entertainment to help us out.

Will you be a beta tester for our podcast?

Ross and I have created a new podcast that centers around the idea of creating a musical theater season within certain constraints that change each week. We think it’s fun and funny, and we’d love to get some feedback on our pilot episode before we release it to the world!

If you’ve got a half hour or so to listen, and another five minutes or so to share your thoughts, we’d love to hear from you. Please leave a comment here or send us a message with your email and we’ll get you on the list as a beta tester! This isn’t just for fans of musical theater, although that doesn’t hurt. We look forward to hearing from you!

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Booking Hard or Hardly Booking?

Ross and I have been hard at work. I’m following a weekly schedule I’ve created for myself, and it keeps me busy. Mornings I blog or work on my book and work on building our business, and then most days I do arts admin and Human Resources contracting I’ve been hired for. Teaching in the afternoon or evenings is also a part of my day.

Ross, on the other hand, is hard at work pounding the pavement for short-term employment, remote work as a podcast/audio editor or composer and bookings.

Hence the blog title. Some days, it’s easy to get fed up that we don’t have more success with bookings. I’ve reached out to at least twenty local churches in the past week. Ross had reached out to a similar number of venues, and he’s applied for at least that many jobs. When your rate of return is low, it’s hard not to feel like you’re hardly booking anything. We’re still establishing a name for ourselves in Florida, and it’s not an easy market to break into without contacts.

But from what we’ve read, the key at this stage is numbers. The more we ask, the more we succeed. 1 out of 30 isn’t a great rate of return. But 10 out of 300 could get us enough work for the next 4-6 months, if we got the right types of gigs. And the more we ask, the more those people forward our emails…so things could grow exponentially if we play our cards right. How nice would 50 out of 300 be?

So the effort continues. And in between, we’ll talk to Groot at Disney World.

Top Five Activities for Adults and RVers at Disney World

As some of you may know, my husband Ross and I are in love with Walt Disney World in Florida. We never thought we would be, honestly, but thanks to a week-long vacation courtesy of Ross’ sister in January 2016 (which I planned almost every detail of far in advance), we realized the magical, even relaxing place that Disney can be and knew we needed to come back. When it became clear that we’d actually be pulling off this crazy plan to RV across the country, we realized we would be becoming Florida residents (for health insurance)…and what would the fun of a Florida visit be without Disney annual passes?! 

We became residents this winter and were able to soak up Disney World off and on for two months while staying in a nearby RV park, the cheap but charming Mouse Mountain RV Resort. We’re now back in the area for four months or so before we head to our next workamping position in Colorado.  

We know Disney still maintains a reputation as a family destination. So here are our top five activities for adult RVers (or any adults) at Walt Disney World. 

5. Find Unique Gifts 

Although much of the shopping at the Disney parks is more uniform than it used to be, there are still some fabulous places to find unique gifts. The best (and most obvious) option is Epcot’s World Showcase, carrying a variety of gifts from around the world. Whether your loved one craves perfume from Paris, a marionette from China or a delicious candy or they haven’t seen since Canada, take a look at Epcot. Will you pay more here? Sure. But there are deals to be had, and there’s so much to see!

4. Explore the History at Disney World 

I’m a big history buff, as are many RVers, and there are some wonderful ways to learn about the history of Walt Disney and his creativity in the parks. Take a behind-the-scenes tour, like the ones in the Magic Kingdom on steam trains or on the history of the park itself. Ride the rides Disney created or played a role in, like Carousel of Progress, The Hall of Presidents or the Jungle Cruise. Lastly, be sure to visit Walt Disney Presents in Hollywood Studios for an exhibit full of historical artifacts from the parks and Disney’s childhood. 

3. Wander (and Eat At) Disney Springs 

Disney Springs is the latest version of Disney’s shopping and dining plaza. It’s centered around a beautiful lake and features everything from a movie theater to a Cirque de Soleil show (through the end of 2017 at least) to live entertainment, shopping and dining. 

It’s free to park and to visit, although some of the experiences cost extra, so it’s a wonderful way to get a taste of Disney without paying for a park day. Many shops offer free samples, and the atmosphere is festive, especially at night. 

Our absolute favorite place is Eliza’s Bakery. It’s gluten, soy, dairy, egg and nut (minus coconut) free, making it a paradise for those with food allergies or sensitivities, like me. Enjoy Mark Bittman’s favorite donuts, plus cupcake tops, brownies, cookies, bagels and more at this outstanding home of deliciousness. And share with me, please?

2. Eat and Drink Around the World 

Epcot’s World Showcase is one of the most popular adult attractions at Walt Disney World. And why wouldn’t it be? The area is gorgeous and transformative, with beautiful recreations of countries from France to Japan, with delicious restaurants and food stands and the option to drink while you shop and wander. It’s so popular, in fact, that local residents can purchase an annual pass that is ONLY good at Epcot after 4 p.m.! We love Epcot. Some days it feels like our favorite place, although that trades off with Animal Kingdom. The World Showcase can get busy, but strolling its shops and streets never gets old, and there are tons of delicious treats, meals and drinks to try. 

So this is our top recommendation to adults who feel there isn’t anything for them at Disney. Like to shop? Like to drink? Eat? You’re all set. Without any of the inconvenience of international travel. 

1. Visit Disney’s Animal Kingdom 

This park…seriously, our top recommendation is to spend time at Animal Kingdom. The atmosphere here is outstanding, especially in the immersive Africa and Pandora (Avatar) sections. 

There is a ton to see here, with animals from gorillas to exotic birds everywhere you turn, as well as free shows like Flights of Wonder and Kilimanjaro Safaris, giving you a glimpse of elephants, lions and much, much more. If animals aren’t as exciting to you as they are to us, don’t worry. The live entertainment in this park is outstanding, including two fully staged musicals (Finding Nemo and Festival of the Lion King), with a variety of musical acts showcasing music from around the world and our favorite evening performance, Rivers of Light. 

Animal Kingdom is also our favorite place to eat. You’ll find outstanding counter service options in Africa, serving the most interesting ethnic foods in the park, and we can’t wait to try Tiffins for a fancy meal. Be sure to try a Dole Whip with rum or a fancy mixed drink here too. 

You may notice I didn’t make many ride suggestions. This park really isn’t about the rides, although there are plenty to try, including a few great roller coasters. What makes this park special is that you can wander everywhere and never visit a ride, or even purchase anything, and still have an amazing experience. 

What’s your favorite part of Disney World? And if you haven’t been, what would be first on your list?