Book Travel

Capturing the Moment: The Winner’s Story

Photos Courtesy of Bryanna (winner)

The winner of our Capture the Moment Sweepstakes and three of her friends, packed up their things and headed to Six Flags Discovery Kingdom! Check out our Q&A with Bryanna below.

Initial Thoughts.

What was going through your mind when you found out that you won the contest?

I was actually on my lunch break at work when I got the email. Such an awesome email! I had to read it like four times before the content of it actually sunk in. Grand prize winner. ME?! I started thinking about everything: who I should take, when we should go, what park we should go to, etc. I was so happy. I’ve never won anything that important before. It made my entire week.

We know you’re used to packing for a fun trip – what are your three must-have vacation items?

Hmmm, I’d have to say my iPhone, my camera and a couple of pairs of fuzzy socks. I love social media and being able to edit and tag and share my travels with the rest of the world it’s something I have a lot of fun doing. I pack the fuzzy socks because I can’t stand my feet getting cold, so I’ll always pack plenty of backup just in case.

Pick a song, any song that would�ve been your theme song for that weekend.

Ahhh, music. There’s a brother/sister duo from Los Angeles who call themselves, Blondfire. In 2011, they came out with a song titled “Where the Kids Are.” The lyrics talk about living your younger years to the fullest. Taking full advantage of your youth. For me, this has a lot of meaning because I’m in those years now. I live for that spontaneous side of life and boy; this trip definitely did not let me down there.


While We’re on the Bus.

First things first, what do you bring on a bus to make 24 hours go by “quickly”?

Music was a huge help, as was sleep. Being the super organized child that I am, I forgot my pillow that I had planned to take at home. Luckily, on the transfer from Portland to Sacramento, we ended up boarding a bus that was part of the new fleet of Greyhounds. The ones with black leather seats, on-board Wi-Fi, and plug-ins under your feet, and that was nice. It kept my iPod from reaching the dreaded red light, and I was able to fall asleep for a few solid hours.

Best part of the bus ride was – The people. All the different personalities. Everybody had a story. Mostly it was independent travelers, but we did get some families here and there. If you got deep enough into a conversation that allowed them to open up about their travels, they talked about some interesting things. Crazy things. Cool things.

On one leg of our trip, I think it was from Spokane to Pasco, I talked to the bus driver about the sweepstakes I won, how I won it, what it was all about, etc. He called me up to the front before we were scheduled to make a restroom break and let me speak on the little overhead radio to a full bus telling them all the details. I finished my nervous explanation and was met with applause. It was such a good feeling.


Hey San Fran, We’re Here!

From the photos, we see that you took a cab into the city. What’s one must-go-to place in San Francisco?

Bubba Gump Shrimp Factory! Actually all the shops on Pier 39 were really fun to wander through. We got down to the boardwalk around 8:30 p.m., so they were all just closing, but we managed to make it to a few unique souvenir places and candy stores. We were debating on where to go for dinner and had all agreed on seafood, but there were so many restaurants to choose from. Bubba Gump had the coolest sign and you could hear the wait staff singing “Happy Birthday” to a lucky customer from a mile away, so we decided that was the place. Good decision! Our waiter was really friendly and the food was delicious. We ordered two plates of the steamed shellfish platter which had mussels, crab, lobster, clams and shrimp. Yum!

What was your favorite part of going to Six Flags?

Everything. I’ve never been treated better in my life. The VIP experience was incredible. We didn’t have to wait in any lines, the shuttle bus from the hotel arrived exactly when it was supposed to, the meals throughout the day were ordered ahead of time and were waiting for us when we sat down to eat. Our tour guide, Carlo, was really down-to-earth and knew a lot about the park’s history, rides and animal exhibits. All of our pictures from the roller coasters were printed and framed for us by the end of the night. I could go on and on. We spent 13 hours total there. Pretty much did everything there was to do. Accomplished day for sure.

Oh my goodness! You were able to bottle feed a male lion? In five words, describe that experience.

Infinite love to nature’s kingdom.

And how was it being that up-close and personal with an elephant? We want the details.

She was beautiful. Absolutely stunning in every way. It was thrilling to me to stand beside an animal that carried such strength and power. To be at the mercy of her actions; it was such an adrenaline rush. We weren’t expecting to actually be inside the pasture with her. We were standing outside the gate with the other guests and the trainer opened it up and said come on in. She was such a good girl, listened to everything he told her. He filled us in on the life of an elephant and even showed us her tongue and how she chews and swallows food. So weird! The closest I’ve ever been to an elephant would probably have to be a circus when I was like 10 years younger. This was nuts! I didn’t want to leave that pen. Haha!

It was around Halloween, which means it was only right to be a part of Six Flag’s Fright Fest. What was the scariest part?

The zombies! I forget the exact number, but Discovery Kingdom hired close to 200 seasonal employees just to dress up and scare people. How awesome is that? The makeup and latex scars were so well done. You would be looking right at them and they’d still manage to make you jump. About one out of every 10 people you’d walk by would be a zombie.

There were at least six different haunted houses set up throughout the park. Decked out with blood, strobe lights, cobwebs, you name it. I remember this one we walked (ran!) through had a scene where there was an old farm truck with its hood up. It was light enough to where you could see that there was somebody leaning over the front (as if to fix something inside the engine) with his back to us, but foggy enough to where you couldn’t make out what he was doing. Sure enough, this big guy in overalls turns around slowly and limps towards us. He was one of the most real looking dead guys I had seen all night. Great actor! All the skin on his face was peeling and the effect made it look like he only had half a head. Plus, he was holding a wrench in one hand and an axe in the other. Mad respect for that set-up, it gave me goosebumps all over.


The Party Doesn’t Stop.

You and your friends are extremely adventurous and active. What�s the next big trip or event that you have planned?

There are so many choices! We’ve all kind of mutually agreed on a Canada trip. Spokane is, give or take, three hours south of British Columbia, so it wouldn’t be that long of a drive. A nice little weekend getaway. We’re working on getting the enhanced licenses to make it possible. Winters up here can be iffy, so we may have to wait for spring but it’ll happen eventually.

Vegas might also be in the near future. Never been before! I’m on a 360-day contract with a company, where they let me off for five days in between my annual renewal, before hiring me for another 360 days. This year it’ll come mid-January. Perfect time to escape the cold and head down south!

I don’t know exactly what the future holds for our crew, but I promise it won’t be boring.


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