Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Day 25 - 6/29/10

It is hot! Orlando has been getting near record highs everyday the past week. It certainly does make my walks through the parks a little unbearable, coupled with the fact that the summer crowds are in full swing, so it's hard to walk around without bumping into others or getting caught in a large crowd. Though once I'm done walking and get back to the apartment and start swimming, it definitely is a refreshing experience. Ahhh!

I've stopped doing the Slim Fast plan. Been reading a lot of comments here that that is not the best way to go. A lot of you have been suggesting new methods, and trust me, I've been reading every one of them. Trying to decide what I'll do, but for the moment, I'm just watching what I eat and how much I eat.

Seems like this blog is getting more and more attention everyday. I was contacted by Jimmy Kimmel Live about my story, but ultimately they decided it wouldn't be right for the show, which I understand. It's still a big honor just to be considered. I'm actually talking to someone right now from one of the major cable news networks, but I'll give more info on that when I can.

If you go to my website, www.bankslee.com, and click the Blog section, you can see some of the many websites that have written/mentioned me and my blog. Like I've said in the previous posts, I love all the supports and kind words I've been getting. You are helping me to continue and not give up!

As you may or may not know, I work for an online Disney fan site called WDW News Today (www.wdwnewstoday.com), where I am one of the co-hosts for their podcast. Tomorrow night I will actually be a guest on their online talk show See Ya Real Late with Tom Corless. It is a late night Disney talk show over at www.wdwntunes.com, and it starts at 11 PM EST. I will be talking about this blog, and also be talking about another online Disney audio show that I co-host with Brandon Struve called the Super Obscure Show. Be sure to tune in at 11 PM EST over at www.wdwntunes.com!

Question of the day: For those who have visited the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, which do you like better; regular Butterbeer or frozen Butterbeer?

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Day 22 - 6/26/10

Today Sidney and I went out swimming, which is great to do on these hot summer days in Orlando. It also is great for my exercising. That's basically all I've done today. Short update, but like I said, nothing too exciting is gonna happen everyday.

But that past 24 hours have been very exciting in regards to the blog! I am completely humbled by all the responses and words of encouragement, as I said in the last post. Thanks to each and every one of you! I may not be able to respond to every comment, message, or email I get, but know that I appreciate and read every single one!

Question of the day: What is your favorite way to cool off during the summer?

Friday, June 25, 2010

Thank you all so much!

I just want to thank everyone who is supporting me through this! I am amazed and touched by all the positive feedback I have gotten from the Yahoo article! As much as all of you are saying that I am inspiring you, at the same time you all are inspiring me. I will not let you or myself down, I will ride Forbidden Journey by the end of the year!

An update on what's been going on. I just got hired to work at M&M's World in the Florida Mall as a character/character buddy! And really, what a great place to work while on this diet, lol! Really though, I am very grateful for this job opportunity, and I will post on here my schedule once everything is finalized so that you may come and visit me if you'd like!

Continuing walking everyday, always around the parks. I find that is the best way to motivate me to keep walking. I get to enjoy being in the parks and taking in the sights, while at the same time getting lots of walking done. At the end of the month I will weigh myself and post it here as an update, and will post new weight updates at the end of every month.

Again, thank you all for all the love and support! I truly appreciate all of the kind words and encouragements. Question of the day: Out of all of the theme parks in the Orlando area, what is your favorite attraction?

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Quick Update

Hey everyone! Sorry for the lack of posts lately. Nothing too exciting is happening right now, just continuing on my diet. Walking daily, watching what I eat and how much I eat. I gotta say, giving up soda is the hardest thing. This Saturday will mark two weeks into my diet. I have yet to stand on a scale to see what my weight is, but I think I will wait until the end of the month to do that.

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter officially opens on Friday! I am so excited! I love that Universal is streaming the grand opening ceremonies live online, so that those of us who don't want to brave to crowds can see it. For those following me here, you too can watch the event at this website; http://www.grandopeningwebevent.com/

Question of the day: Where are all of you from? I'm curious to know what states or countries those of you who are following me here are from. Leave your answer in the comments below.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Day 6 - 6/10/10

Well I still do not fit onto Forbidden Journey, but I never expected to so quickly. Yesterday I went back to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter to try out the test seat again, but this time I didn't even get one click. The girl at the test seat (inside near loading) told me they aren't supposed to force the restraint down to try and get clicks. This coupled with the fact my friend got onto the ride with two clicks makes me believe they really don't have their stuff straight when it comes to bigger muggles.

Oh well, I'm not here to complain, just enlighten. So far I'm doing well with cutting back on what I eat and the amount I eat. Also walking daily and getting ready to start swimming daily.

Had another guest recognize me yesterday while at Potter. As soon as they let day guests into Potter in the morning, I walk past these two girls at the entrance near the Hogwarts Express. They were both hugging each other and one was crying, excited to finally be able to get into Hogsmeade. It was a sweet moment. The girl crying looks up and immediately recognizes me from this blog and gives me a high five, telling me that I'm doing a great job. It's support like this that will help me get through all of this, and I completely appreciate it!

Alright, here is the question of the day: If you have had the great fortune of experiencing The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, what is your favorite part about it? Is it one of the attractions, shops, or shows? Or is it the amount of detail that went into it? Leave me a comment below with your answer!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Days 2 & 3 - 6/6/10 & 6/7/10

Hey everyone, sorry for the delayed update. I had a busy past two days, and by the time I would get home late night, I was too exhausted to post anything. Expect this to happen a lot on days when I'm either busy or nothing of importance happens.

That said, let's start with Sunday. Several of my close friends/co-workers from wdwnewstoday.com & others stayed at a Universal hotel and got to go into Potter Sunday morning. Because the rooms were full, I showed up as a day guest hoping that they would let us into Potter like they had been the past several days. Unfortunetly, Forbidden Journey went down as soon as day guests were let into the park, so we were not allowed in that day.

I sat outside Potter for several hours waiting for my friends to come out when they were done. During this time, though, I was recognized three times for this blog. It's great that word is getting out, and I love having all this support.

But then a funny thing happened. Forbidden Journey became operational again, and my friend Tom got into the ride vehicle and only got two clicks. The attendant asked if he felt okay, he said yes, and they sent him through the ride. Mine and others theories are that since he was on the loading platform in the vehicle, they didn't want to stop the moving platform and let him out, because it would essentially bring the entire attraction to a grinding halt. So if they are able to get guests into the test seat and they only get two clicks, they just tell them they can't ride and need three clicks. Honestly, this does not upset me, I can understand where they are coming from. We will find out what happens when I go back after the grand opening June 18.

The rest of the day consisted of walking around Islands of Adventure and Universal Studios before heading home for a quick shower and change, because it was HOT and HUMID. We then met up at Magic Kingdom for the first night of Summer Nightastic at Walt Disney World.

I got to see the return of the Main Street Electrical Parade, which I hadn't seen since 1999. I also saw the Summer Nightastic Fireworks Spectacular, which is by far the best fireworks display Disney has ever done! More walking around the park, riding some rides, and then it was back home to collapse on the bed.

Monday was another full day of walking around the parks. Started off at Hollywood Studios where I got to see the updates Disney did to Tower of Terror for Summer Nightastic. Now for those who really know me, I am a HUGE Tower of Terror fan, so I was excited to see what they did to my favorite attraction. Let me just say they did not disappoint. It was AMAZING! I have never been so scared during the drop sequence since when I first rode it in 1997. Won't spoil anything, but you need to check it out!

I then went back to Magic Kingdom to take Sidney to see the Parade and Fireworks, since she hasn't seen them yet. My good friend Elliott was DJing the Club 626 Dance Party in Tomorrowland and I was filming shots for him, so he got us a special viewing place for the fireworks atop Astro Orbiter. Great spot to view the fireworks!

After more walking around the park, we left and went home. All in all, the past two days I got a LOT of walking done. It's great having access to the local parks here because I can just go and walk around without riding anything for exercise, and really enjoy the walk through these themed lands.

So that was my busy past two days. Thanks for everyone who said hi to me and support me with this blog. Again, I can't guarantee that I will post about every single day, but I'll try.

I want to do something interactive. I want to know what everyone's favorite place to walk is. It can be a neighborhood, local park, or one of the many theme parks in the area. But tell me why you like to take a walk in that particular place.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Day 1 - 6/5/10

Today I officially started my mission. I went to Wal-Mart and bought some new groceries, and than from noon-2 I walked from my apartment to Downtown Disney and back. The total distance was 5.2 miles, and it took just under 2 hours to complete.

That's pretty much all I did today. Starting off slow, but will be adding to it as time goes by. I thought I would answer some questions I saw in the comments from my introduction, so here goes!

First of all, thank you so much for all of the support and words of encouragement. It's so heartwarming knowing that everyone is behind me, and that some of you are even going to follow me and do your own mission. I hope this is a success not only for me, but for all of you out there!

I had someone ask me what my chest and waist sizes are. Luckily I just had them measured in April for my best friend's wedding, so they are fairly recent numbers. My chest size is 52, and my waist is 50.

At the moment I am starting off with the Slim Fast plan. I have 3 snacks a day (fruits, veggies, and/or a Slim Fast bar), drink 2 Slim Fast shakes a day, and eat 1 sensible meal. I also plan on walking and/or swimming everyday for 2 hours.

Someone who actually works at Forbidden Journey posted a comment saying "Will be following your quest and look forward to your subsequent visits! This is really a positive outlook and a shining example of the attitude we wish we encountered more. Not that the seat's aren't really restrictive as they are. -sad face- Good luck muggle!" Reading that totally made my day!

That's it for day 1! Tomorrow I will actually be going to Universal with some of my friends/co-workers from wdwnewstoday.com. I hope that I am able to get into the Wizarding World at park open so that I may do my first video post of me trying out the test seats. After that we are going to the Magic Kingdom for the first night of Summer Nightastic, where we will see the Main Street Electrical Parade! I will be getting a lot of walking done tomorrow, so that will be a big help!

Friday, June 4, 2010


My name is Banks Lee, and I'm a big guy. Not obese, but still big. I'm 6'2" and weigh roughly around 310 lbs. Why am I telling you this? Because I am not able to fit onto the new Harry Potter & the Forbidden Journey attraction at Islands of Adventure in Orlando, FL.

But don't worry. This blog is not to criticize Universal Orlando for not making the ride vehicles roomier. No, this blog is to chronicle my journey to get into shape and lose enough weight to be able to get on Forbidden Journey. Even when I achieve this goal, it doesn't mean that I'm going to stop exercising or eating right.

Now, Forbidden Journey is not the only ride I have problems getting on, but it is the only ride I am not able to get on. I still fit (albeit pretty tightly) in the bigger seats on other attractions like Hulk, Dragon's Challenge & Hollywood Rip, Ride, Rockit. This mission is also going to help me not have to always ask for the bigger seats on those rides, and finally allow me to sit in the front rows!

You may be wondering where the name comes from. In the test seats at Forbidden Journey, in order to be able to ride, the over-the-shoulder restraint must click down three times. At the time of starting this blog, I'm able to get two clicks, but only with a lot of help by a Universal Team Member working at the attraction.

So that's basically it! I will try to make one post per day, and plan on doing one video update a week. Thanks to everyone for the support, this is a long time coming for me. I've never really had the motivation to do this, so I'm excited to see where this will go!