I am not ashamed to admit that I LOVE my reality TV shows. I love seeing someone open to their emotions, vulnerable to their surroundings, and all while being filmed for the world to see. There is just something raw about the whole concept that attracts people like me. Once a year, Give Kids the World and Celebration host the TV Reality Star Event open to the public where you can meet and greet your favorites from Survivor, Amazing Race, Big Brother, and even Ghost Hunters! Here is my experience with it this year, and how you can make the most of it if you plan on heading over to it next summer!
Let’s start with last year’s event, it was held at the downtown local pub, and it was OUTside. Yes, in the August heat of Florida, we met each celebrity while trying not to drip sweat everywhere. Someone got smart this year and decided to have it at the local hotel, so the only place we would die of heat exhaustion at would be in the waiting line outside. Craig dropped Kyra and I off in downtown Celebration and we walked down to the hotel, found we were 2nd in line- sweet! This was 12:30, the event wouldn’t start until 3:00. Let the waiting commence.
Kyra and I hung out in the shade of the palm trees nearby- it was very relaxing. Granted a chair would have been nice, but cement is what was there and I didn’t want to have to carry that all in with me to begin with. Craig was coming back with Emily, as she doesn’t do well in the extreme humidity, and they soon joined us around 2:00. Around the same time, the Stars arrived by bus and car, so we got to meet a few of them walking into the Hotel. We decided to have Craig come in with us this year to take pictures of the kids while I was meeting my favorites- last year it was quite difficult to get my stuff done AND make sure I didn’t miss the kids and their photo opps. Craig was cool doing it because he honestly didn’t know who 80% of the people were.(Thanks honey!)
After the Mascots from the Give Kids the World Village came out to say hello to us in line, we were ready to go in a little after 3:00. Last year they let the VIP’s go in before the public at the public time, so if we were slated to go in at 3, we would have had to wait, like last year, for all the VIP’s to get in front of the line first. THIS year they had their own time for the VIP’s, and the public was slated to actually start going in at 3:00. They also had us enter in groups of 10, which we were happy to be in the first one. The air conditioning was a welcome feeling after sitting in the heat for 2.5 hours, and before we knew it, we were meeting Richard Hatch.
They all sit with their season, so they are easy to find. They have their name and a picture from them on the show so they can be easily identified. I will admit, I had to look at several of their names, only because some of the seasons were older and I couldn’t place the name. I’m always better with faces, so I would get excited to say hello and meet them and then I would feel silly because I’d have to casually look at their name plate. Craig took pictures of the kids, I took pics with my favorites, and also the kids when Craig was busy. The system seemed to work, although I wouldn’t bother with the autographs next year. I am picture kind of gal, and it means more to me to remember the interaction that way.
I believe over 120 were there this year, and they filled about 4 conference rooms full. They sit across from you at a table, so taking pictures with them gets hard. But, there are no rules to say you CANNOT have your picture taken with them, so you are free to ask. Because we were front of the line, we were setting a pace for the rest. The thing of it was, many VIP’s at one point were in front of us, so we were at a stand still many times just talking to whichever star was sitting there until the line moved. At one point, we somehow became the “front” of the line, either those before us were done, gone, who knew.
But at one point we were meeting Brandon and Russell, and if you are Survivor fans, you know who they are. They were having a good old time with Kyra and Emily because they were HUGE fans of Brandon, so he was freaking out how much they liked him. He had them record something for his You Tube channel, and was rubbing it in Russell’s face that the girls liked him more. Well the “to do” was holding up the line, even though Brandon was the one making the fuss and keeping us longer than I am sure the event planners would have liked. Honestly, people just needed to go around us.
They have no time limit on who you can talk to, and you pay a flat fee of $20 to meet and greet. Believe it or not, it wasn’t us causing the problem, it was the stars themselves. They would either be gone to the bathroom so they were missing, and we would wait or come back to them- or they were having fun with us and would chat awhile with us. Nevertheless, there was one event planner that had it out for our family. At one point she said “You have to keep moving” really snotty to us, and that’s when I got annoyed. We were doing EXACTLY what we should be, getting our autographs, some pictures, and meeting them. The funny thing is, is that those BEHIND us were doing the EXACT same thing in the third room, so we weren’t holding up ANYONE. The winner of this past year, Kim, wasn’t in her seat, so we went back to get her picture at least and the planner again was freaking out. It was getting old, and I made sure that she knew that we weren’t doing anything to hold up anyone.
The last room was Big Brother, Amazing Race, and a Ghost Hunter. I was stoked! Being a woman of faith, I shouldn’t even be the least bit curious with the Paranormal, as it will bring unnecessary evil into you life that no one needs. But due to a childhood event in my life, I have ALWAYS been curious. So, I got to meet him and he was SO KIND! Britt Griffith gave me an autographed picture and I was so flustered because of the event planner freaking out, I didn’t even get to ask him what his favorite ghost hunt was. But I loved meeting him and the rest.
What I loved about this year was that people remembered the girls and me. How cool was it to get hugs and kisses from Tina and Sarge like we were family? It was such a neat and LOVED feeling to have- especially when I saw my Amazing Race friends. I love them so much, they are so sweet. Many gave the kids trinkets, necklaces, pictures, and momentos.
I highly recommend that if you LOVE these shows, this is a great way to meet and talk to them. Even Carlton, I HATED him on the show, but when I met him, he was just a sweet, southern guy. Oh an my favorite? The one I had heart palpitations over, Ozzy…. Oh Ozzy. Enough said. We will be there next year, and even though I didn’t head to the party this year, I will be at both events next summer. Enjoy the pictures and email me with any questions at firstname.lastname@example.org..
Check out their website, and keep checking back for next years event! http://celebrationtowncenter.com/events/hearts-of-reality-a-survivor-weekend-2012