A quick and fun weekend in Orlando with friends

Hello, friend! We just returned from a quick and fun weekend in Orlando with friends. Dave and I were there to celebrate the 30th birthday of one friend and the 40th birthday of another friend (and they are a couple, so it was a double party). Our friends planned this weekend at the start of the year, and we’ve been looking forward to it ever since.

This marked the first time (and only third time in history) when Dave and I have gone on a trip without Brady. And this was the first time Brady stayed with my Mom for the weekend. It went great, and they had a nice time together. Once again, thank goodness my Mom moved to Charlotte.

Also, let’s talk about Orlando: For those of you who don’t know, Dave and I met in Orlando. I moved to Orlando after college (go Gators), and Dave was already living in Orlando having gone to Rollins College there in Winter Park. We met at a bar, in downtown Orlando, only to find out we actually lived in the same high-rise building in downtown Orlando. We started dating, eventually moved in together (in that same building), got engaged and even got married right in downtown Orlando.

We left Orlando just a few months after getting married to move to San Francisco, and we’ve been back to visit Orlando a ton of times since. We’ve gone back for weddings and activities in the past, and one day, I’d like to take Brady to Disney. I worked at Walt Disney World twice in my early career and have always wanted to go back with my little family.

Anywho, we love Orlando. And we love a chance to spend some time there. This visit was short, and we didn’t get to see a lot of friends we’d normally like to see, but that only means we’ll need to go back again soon.

Now, for the report on the weekend …

A quick and fun weekend in Orlando with friends

Here’s how our short two-night weekend in Orlando went …

Friday: First-class flying and an Orlando Magic game in downtown Orlando

My Mom and Brady dropped Dave and I off at the Charlotte Airport around 11 a.m. on Friday, and our adventure began. I was excited to know that Dave got a super-sweet deal to upgrade our seats to first class, which was basically a first for me. I’d sat in first class on a high school trip many, many years ago, and that was my only plane experience not smushed into a tiny coach seat. Even though the flight to Orlando was just a little over an hour, it sure was nice to have better (and more roomy) seats to enjoy.

Heading to Orlando by A Lady Goes West

While I usually read on the plane, I felt like truly throwing caution to the wind and watching a show instead. I haven’t been watching any TV by myself in the last few busy months and am totally behind on a couple Bravo shows I enjoy. I wasn’t able to find what I wanted to catch up on (“Southern Charm” for starters), but I did find “The Real Housewives Ultimate Girls’ Trip Ex-Wives Club,” which is about as ridiculous as it sounds. This show is made up of former Housewives, and they may not be on their various series any longer, but they still make great TV. I was literally laughing out loud at the shenanigans. It was so funny and entertaining, and I got through one-and-a-quarter episodes on the way there and on the way back. So good!

Once Dave and I arrived in Orlando, we grabbed some Starbucks sandwiches and lattes and hopped in an incredibly long Uber ride through traffic. Orlando has always had bad traffic, and it looks like things haven’t changed. We arrived at the AirBnB where we were staying with the whole group about 4 p.m. on Friday, and that’s when the party began for us. Here’s a look at what was inside our welcome bag (just the essentials for a big weekend) …

Party supplies by A Lady Goes West

There were 12 of us staying in a big house in the Kissimmee area of Orlando, and we were the second-to-last of the houseguests to arrive. Once Dave and I chose our room (this house had a lot of rooms), we quickly showered up and changed for the outing. Then, the entire group hopped in a shuttle bus (with drinks and snacks in hand) to head to the Orlando Magic basketball game. The traffic was terrible (this is a pattern in Orlando), but once we got there, it was definitely worth the trip.

The party hosts, Alex and Jess, had reserved a suite for our group. We had food, drinks and dessert already in the suite, which was totally amazing.

Honestly, I hardly watched any of the game or anything on the court (other than the half-time show featuring a dog who did really cool tricks), and I spent the rest of time catching up with people and enjoying an arena and scene I used to love when we lived in Orlando years ago. Here’s the view from our suite …

Orlando Magic game by A Lady Goes West

Because Dave worked at the Orlando Magic for several years, he still knows a lot of employees, and one-by-one people would stop by the suite to see him/us. It was really great to chat with so many people we knew from our time in Orlando. And here I am with the birthday girl and party co-host, Jess …

Orlando Magic game girls by A Lady Goes West

We couldn’t miss a chance to head up to the rooftop bar of the Amway Center, where the Orlando Magic play, to check out the downtown Orlando skyline. Dave and I could even see the building where we lived together in the distance. Oh, the memories …

Ashley and Dave at Magic game by A Lady Goes West

Ashley and Dave at Orlando Magic game by A Lady Goes West

(Skinny jeans aren’t dead in my world, and here are my jeans.)

And all of that was on top of the fun we were having with our party group, which included my brother, Matthew, and my sister-in-law, Stephanie.

In fact, the only reason we even know Alex and Jess is through Matthew. Alex was actually there the night I met Dave in Orlando almost 14 years ago (Matthew was there too), and we were so happy to have then been introduced to Jess, when Alex and Jess started dating years ago. It’s a great group of people!

Orlando Magic game group by A Lady Goes West

The Magic won that night, and our group had a blast. We took our shuttle bus back to the house after the game to hang out for a bit. Then we called it a night around midnight, expecting a big day the next day.

Saturday: Chilling at a fancy ladies brunch and getting into character for the coolest 80’s prom murder mystery game

Saturday started off really early, because as a parent, it’s hard to sleep in, even when you go on a trip, you know? I woke up before 7 a.m., and I did not feel like I was rested at all, but I couldn’t go back to sleep.

The guys were up early to head off for a golf trip, and I was happy to see some of the girls downstairs already when I went down there. We each had some coffee, sat in our jammies, chatted and even put on an old movie. It was super chill.

While we sat around, a company called Wild Mint Picnics showed up, and their team began setting up an incredible brunch picnic scene for us outside on the patio of the house. They were busy working for almost two hours, and during that time, we all changed and headed out to see the amazing set-up.

Ladies brunch Kissimmee by A Lady Goes West

We had a buffet of delicious breakfast foods, a coffee bar, a mimosa bar, and the dreamiest table with pillow seats, and a little teepee decoration (our birthday girl, Jess, sat under the teepee, clearly). We sipped on drinks and ate some of the food from our festive display and stayed there for hours.

Ladies brunch coffee bar by A Lady Goes West

Ladies brunch meal Kissimmee by A Lady Goes West

One of the guys stayed behind from golf, and he joined us for a couple hours too. He remarked on our conversations and said that they weren’t quite what he expected of a group of girls brunching. He said we covered a range of complex and deep topics, and he was so interested to hear our viewpoints on everything under the sun. We truly did. This is an awesome group of sweet ladies, and I like that we talked about so much.

After brunch, we moved back inside to chill (do you see a theme of “chill” for the first part of this day?) and wait for the guys to get back from golf. They stayed out later than expected, and when they returned, they jumped right into the icy pool, which was funny.

From there, it was party prep time. Everyone went upstairs to transform into their 80’s attire for an 80’s prom night murder mystery activity.

We had each received a character assignment a few weeks ahead of time, so we showed up for the weekend with some 80’s gear on hand. Stephanie brought a hair crimper, which many of us used, and we put on bright eyeshadow and all donned a lot of neon pink.

My character was “Amy Achiever,” and I was an overachieving studious gal who always helped people with their homework and really wanted to be valedictorian. Dave was “Todd Tooshoe” and he was a preppy know-it-all who constantly talked about himself. And yes, he is wearing a mullet wig. Enjoy … 

80s couple by A Lady Goes West

Ashley as Amy Achiever by A Lady Goes West

(I ordered my bodysuit, skirt and accessories from Amazon.)

I was so impressed with how everyone in the group leaned into their character — not only dressing the part — but also acting their part. Special shout-out to my brother, Matthew, for nailing his part as a class president, who was murdered, only to come back as a very witty detective. He had us all cracking up with his delivery.

I’ve always wanted to do a murder mystery night, and the 80’s prom twist made it ultimately fun. This was the perfect group for it, because everyone tried really hard and took it seriously. LOVE that.

The actual script and activities all took place mostly on our phones. Jess bought this kit from The Dating Diva, and she had printed off a bunch of stuff ahead of time. Then, we all scanned a QR code for our scripts and various tasks, and the game went on from there.

Without getting into too many details, we each gave tidbits about our characters quirks and motivation throughout the night with interviews and speeches and interactive activities, and a murder took place, then the discovery ensued.

It was really fun, and it probably took about two hours from start to finish. I think everyone loved it, and I’d definitely do something like this again, because it made a regular party into an over-the-top fun party. Also, Dave and I were crowned prom king and queen, and that made us very happy. Here are some scenes from the night …

80s girls by A Lady Goes West

Prom pictures by A Lady Goes West

Winning prom king and queen by A Lady Goes West

Prom king and queen by A Lady Goes West

Once the game was over, we turned up the music, ate snacks, made drinks, played games and hung out for hours, going to bed way too late!

Now, I cannot talk about the 80’s prom party without talking about the coolest element — a fabulous charcuterie display. Jess (a former wedding planner, who works as an event planner now) found a vendor to come and set up a crazy elaborate and delicious charcuterie on a big table. She hired The Graze Room, and this lady and her husband came and worked for more than two hours to get it set up. Not only was it gorgeous, but it was also tasty, and we all enjoyed nibbling off it all night. I had never seen this kind of thing before, and I may need to research and recreate it here in Charlotte one day.

Charcuterie table by A Lady Goes West
Charcuterie table meal by A Lady Goes West

While there are plenty of funny stories and anecdotes from this very full party day, I think I’ll leave it at that. We laughed. We played. We partied. We lived it up. Good times were had by all!

And big shout-out to Alex and Jess for putting together, organizing and hosting such a super-fun weekend for their birthdays! They are excellent hosts!

Also, I made a little video about our 80’s prom night event here.

Sunday: Traveling back to Charlotte and getting organized and ready for the week

The sound (and feeling of) my alarm clock on my phone felt rough on Sunday morning after another late and fun night. But Dave and I were up and out early on Sunday morning, ready to catch our 10:15 a.m. plane back to Charlotte to reunite with our little man and prepare for a busy week.

We got upgraded for free to first class on this flight, and that was super nice, because we ended up in the front row of the plane. Not only did that mean more legroom and roomier seats, but it also meant we were the first people off the plane, so we didn’t have that terrible waiting game when it takes forever to file out.

A quick and fun weekend in Orlando

(Peep my new shoes in this photo. I wore them twice over the weekend, and they are so comfy.)

We were home into our house by 1 p.m., and because Brady was at a friend’s birthday party with my Mom, I was able to unpack, start laundry and get totally organized before they arrived home to hang out. I spent the rest of the day snuggling Brady and Rudy, hitting up the grocery store, doing chores and preparing for my class. Our return home also meant a return to (mostly) healthy meals, more movement and more sleep (things that were missing on our trip away, of course).

Dave and I are so thankful to my Mom for watching Brady for the whole weekend. And we’re so glad we went on this fun and different weekend trip to spend time with some great people. We have only one more trip on the agenda for 2022, and it’s coming up very soon!

And that’s the quick weekend in Orlando trip recap! Thanks for stopping by the blog today, and have a wonderful week, friend. 🙂 

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Questions of the day

How was your weekend?

Do you have any trips planned for the rest of 2022?

Have you ever been to Orlando?

Have you ever done a murder mystery event?

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    1. Hi Shelby! Thank you! I spent so much time looking around for the right pieces for my 80’s outfit, and of course, it mostly ended up coming from Amazon. It was fun to dress up for something different. Hope your week is off to a great start, friend!

  1. Sounds so fun! I would love to do a murder mystery party and dressed in the 80’s! It reminds me of a movie called Clue, an 80’s movie but so good!

    1. I’ve actually never seen the “Clue” movie, but some of the friends at the party had! I would highly recommend an event like this for people who are willing to get into character — so fun! 🙂 Hope your week is off to a great start, Joanna! 🙂

  2. That movie is one of those old movies I wouldn’t mind watching over and over! I think you and Dave would get a kick out of it since you just did a murder mystery. 🙂

    1. She was SO happy to bring Brady to the party and see all of your lovely ladies. She remarked again on how nice you all are. Maybe I’ll bring her to James’ party too! 🙂 xoxo

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