This is the Schneider-Farris Family's Blog. Keep up with what we are doing by logging into this site regularly! (The reason this site is called "Tragedy and Triumph" is that when I first founded this site, my husband, Dan, had been in a horrible accident, and he recovered. His recovery was a miracle! Go back to the 2005 archives to read our story.)

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Our Wonderful Week In Washington D.C.! February 11 -- February 17, 2018

My son Joel has traveled all over the world for almost four years with Disney On Ice Frozen.  We decided to take advantage that his tour would be in Washington DC, so Rebekah, Annabelle, my dad, and I went to Washngton DC to see Joel.  We had been together in Washington DC in 2010 when the kids took part in the Wheaton Skating Academy ice dance camp and also my dad and I were there with Joel for just a bit in October of 2014 when Joel's show was in Fairfax, Virginia with the show, but had only seen a few things, so this time we decided to visit the Smithsonian Museums and also see Joel perform in the show.

Below is a summary of our wonderful and memorable week in D.C.!

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Sunday, February 11 was really just a travel day.  We flew from Denver International Airport to Dulles Washington DC airport and took the Super Shuttle to our hotel.  We arrived before the cast arrived since they were still on the bus that was coming from Salisbury, Maryland and settled in our rooms.  As soon as Joel and the cast arrived, he came to see us in our hotel room.  We also met one of Joel's friends who is in the cast, a skater named Theo, who is from Germany.  This is Theo's first year with Disney On Ice and he's only 19 years old.  Theo told me he is "living his dream" traveling throughout the USA and skating with Disney On Ice.

Joel and Theo Skating at the Sculpture Garden Ice Rink in Washington DC 2-13-18

Monday, February 12, 2018

After a wonderful breakfast at our hotel, we walked to the Hirshhorn contempory art museum.  The art there was "very contemporary" and we spent a couple hours absorbing the interesting art there.

Then, we went to the Smithsonian Castle and ate lunch there and took a tour which really helped us understand what the Smithsonian museums are about.  We learned that the castle was originally white, but turned a red-rust color since there was iron in the stones which rusted in time.  We learned about Mr. Smithson who founded the museum.

Then it was off to the Natural Science museum.  It was totally an incredible experience being there.  What we expected years ago when we took the kids to the similar experience in New York really was at that museum.  The mummies were so cool and so were the dinosaurs!

In the late afternoon - early evening we walked to this wonderful vegan restaurant called  Hip City Veg!

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

We took an Uber to the National Zoo.  I think the coolest animal we saw was the giant panda!  The zoo was almost deserted since it was cold outside.  I think I may like the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo more than the National Zoo, but it was fun to see the reptiles, especially the tortoises.  It was also a treat to see the orangutans and gorillas and monkeys!

In the afternoon we walked-scootered to the Sculpture Garden by the National Gallery and skated at the wonderful outdoor ice rink.  Then, Annabelle and I went to the National Gallery and Joel and Theo went to see the Lincoln Memorial and Washington Monument.


In the evening, my college friend and Gamma Phi Sorority sister Liz Baker Horner picked us up and took us to dinner at the Silver Diner in Arlington.  It was wonderful visiting with Liz and her daughter Jessica who is also a figure skater.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

On Wednesday morning, we decided to split up and do our own thing.  Joel had a meeting to go to related to work.

I went to the Museum of the Bible and Annabelle and Rebekah to the American Indian Museum and followed by the National Portrait Gallery and the Air and Space Museum!  I saw every inch of the bible museum since that museum is not free and I wanted to get my money's worth.  I especially enjoyed the journey through the Tanach!  It reminded me of a Disneyland adventure.  I also liked seeing old Torah scrolls and seder plates.  The food at the restaurant on the top floor looked amazing too, but all I had was pita chips.

The girls enjoys President Obama's portrait and John F. Kennedy's portrait.  Rebekah enjoyed the interactive area at the Air and Space Museum.  She says she could actually look around a plane!

In the late afternoon we took an Uber to the Capitol One Arena and Joel got us back stage passes so we could see him and the cast practice together.  Then, we waited inside the arena for the show to begin.  This was the 16th time I've see Disney On Ice Frozen!  I thought this was a wonderful show and I enjoyed seeing almost an entirely new cast perform.  (This is the 4th year Joel has been with Frozen, so many of the members of this cast are different than the cast that toured during the first three tours.)

Thursday, February 15, 2018

On Thursday morning, woke up very early and headed to the Gallery Place Metro Station on my scooter.  I arrived at White Flint Station around 9:15 am and my friend Lynn picked me up and we had a nice time visiting one another face to face at Panera Bread.  (Seeing her was a highlight!)

Joel did a 10:30 am morning show and Rebekah went to the gym and went back to the American Indian Museum.  She found another vegan place called Fruitize located in a fancy part of the National Mall.

Annabelle spent the day visiting a lot of her friends.  Some of the friends were from Birthright Israel, BBYO, Ramah in the Rockies, and Ramah TRY.  Annabelle just has a lot of friends that live in the DC area.  She even went bowling!

After my visit with Lynn, she dropped me off at the White Flint station and I returned on the Metro to the Gallery Place station which was right next to the Capitol One Arena at 1:00 pm.  Joel got me a back stage pass and I got to go inside the arena and spend time with him and watch him practice on Open Ice.  It was so fun also to see some of the other members of the cast working so hard on their skating.

Then, once Joel was done skating, the two of us walked to a Panera Bread near the arena and enjoyed a late lunch.  After that, Joel and I checked out the National Portrait Gallery which we discovered was across the street from the arena.

Then, I walked Joel back to the arena's employee entrance and then rode my scooter back to the hotel.  That was an especially fun scooter ride since it was mostly downhill and I could see so much of Washington D.C.!

Friday, February 16, 2018

We all knew we had only one day left together, so we made the most of it.  Rebekah woke up early to reserve spots for us at the African American Museum and after breakfast, off we went on a Uber ride there.  We got there just before our 10:30 am reservation and we were there through the afternoon.  The museum included so much that it was almost overwhelming.

Debbie Thomas's skates and dress from the 1988 Olympics at the African American Museum

Joel had an evening show, but the rest of us were picked up by Danna DeShazer and David Strand and were treated to the most wonderful Washington DC experience at Carmine's Italian Restaurant!  I felt like we were part of one of the Godfather movies when we ate there.  It was simply wonderful!

We went back to the hotel to watch the Olympics.  The girls fell asleep, but Joel and I stayed up late and saw Nathan Chen's amazing "redemption performance" and stayed up to see Yuzuru Hanyu win his second Olympic figure skating title.  Wow what an evening that was!

Earlier in the week we watched the Olympics whenever we could on our hotel room television and were so excited to see our friends Alexa and Chris and the US team win bronze.

Saturday, February 17, 2018

We had our last hotel breakfast with Joel and hugs him good-bye.  I filmed his bus driving away which has been my tradition for many of the visits I've had during his four years of touring.  Then we spend some time packing.

I squeezed in a quick trip to the American Indian museum and enjoyed riding my scooter there and the girls went to the National Gallery of Art and saw wonderful contemporary art and Rebekah saw a painting by Jackson Pollack!  The girls then went back to Hip City Veg and got some take out food and returned to the hotel.

We hung out in my son Joel's room until it was time to meet our Super Shuttle that would take us to the Dulles Airport.  It turned out the Super Shuttle was 45 minutes late which made us feel rushed but we did get to the gate in plenty of time.  The flight home was somewhat eventful since we ended up sitting in the plane for two hours before take off due to an auxiliary power malfunction and de-icing.

When our plane finally landed in Colorado, we were glad to be home but were so glad we had such a wonderful week visiting Joel in Washington D.C.  I especially enjoyed getting to know the "new cast" and meeting some of Joel's new friends.  I also enjoyed everything that happened to us during our wonderful adventure in the nation's capitol!

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Jo Ann Schneider Farris has participated in skating for most of her life as a competitor, coach, and author.