Sunday, November 24, 2013
Disney Trip report, Day 5, Thursday, November 14th, 2013
Well we had decided yesterday that instead of staying until Saturday and going back to US/IOA on Friday we were going to go ahead and go back home on Friday. We were homesick and missing the dog. So this day would be our last park day.
I was up at 7. We ate cereal in the room as we had done all week long.
We headed out to Animal Kingdom for a 9 am opening. We had not been back to Animal Kingdom since our first family trip back in October 2011. The park was OK but wasn't our favorite. But to have something different to do Jeremy and I decided to give it another chance. I am glad we did because it was pretty fun. I rode Expedition Everest (by myself) which I had never ridden before. Jeremy had already told me he wasn't riding it because he wasn't interested. My daughter who is a thrill ride junkie had told us that Expedition Everest was “intense” so he lost any interest in it long ago.
Turns out that Expedition Everest is not near as intense as she made it out to be. It was actually a good coaster. I really liked it. Most importantly it doesn't flip you upside down. So it gets an A+ in my book.
We also rode Dinosaur which is a ride we completely missed riding on our first trip because it is in a far back corner of the park and we never came across it. It was pretty rough and jerky but it was interesting enough.
We also watched the Festival of the Lion King show. It is my favorite Disney show. It didn't end until 11 am so I knew we were going to be about 15 minutes late for our 11 am lunch reservation at Rainforest Cafe at the front of the park.
We checked in at 11:15 and I told them we were late but when I handed her our Landry's Select card she said no problem we would be seated immediately even if we didn't have a reservation. Ppl seem to grumble and mumble when they have been waiting to be seated and you are taken before them and walked past a line of ppl waiting.
Jeremy had Steak and Shrimp and I had a seafood dinner that had Blackened Talapia and a dish of Shrimp and Scallops in a nasty spicy Cheese sauce and also Coconut Shrimp. I realized I do not like SWEET Shrimp so I didn't really eat the Coconut Shrimp either. But they gave me 2 pieces of Blackened Talapia. It was pretty good. It wasn't actually blackened though. It just had a little seasoning sprinkled on it. (Bill was $62 $15 tip)
We left the park and headed back to the room for our afternoon break because we had plans to go to Magic Kingdom later for the Mickey's Very Merry Christmas party.
We rested until about 3:45 and headed out for Magic Kingdom. We got to the parking lot and parked in the AAA Diamond parking lot and walked up to the transportation center. At Magic Kingdom once you park in the parking lot you are not actually at the park. You then have to go to the transportation center and take a boat or monorail over to the park.
We usually ride the monorail but it was closed/broken at the time and we were all directed to the ferry boat. We finally made it to the park around 5.
There were tons of ppl in the park and very long waits for the rides. We have never been to a park when it was this crowded.
We had walked around the park once and decided around 6 to have a counter service dinner at Cosmic Rays. I usually do not eat meat of any kind, only seafood, but this was only one of 3 places serving food so I had to pick from what they had. I ordered a Turkey Sandwich and Jeremy ordered a grilled Chicken sandwich. ($22)
We never did get around to riding any rides. We went around the corner from Cosmic rays and went into the Laugh Floor attraction which is a little comedy show based on the characters from Monsters. Inc. It was really cute and funny. I look forward to bringing the kids back so they can see it.
After seeing the Laugh Floor show we decided to head towards Main Street so we can get a spot along the curb for the 8:15 parade. I thought by getting to the curb by 7:00 we would get a front row spot but no. The curbs were already lined with ppl so we just walked up and stood behind some ppl that were actually sitting down on the curb that we would be able to see over.
By the time the parade started at 8:15 our legs and feet were hurting AND numb all at the same time from standing in one spot for almost 90 minutes. But the parade was awesome.
Once the parade was over we walked onto the bridge between Main St and Tomorrowland and found a seat on a bench to wait for the castle projection show and fireworks. It felt so good to sit down.
We stayed for the show and fireworks but decided to not stay and ride any rides because once we were through watching fireworks it was after 10 and we still had to get back to our car and get back to the room.
We made it back to the room by 10:15 and Jeremy went straight to bed but I wasn't sleepy so I stayed up until almost 11.
The next day we woke up at 4 am and got the car loaded up and left heading for home. We didn't end up stopping at Denny's on the way home like we usually do. Jeremy just stopped for some fast food and I just had some snacks because my stomach felt sick.
We finally made it back to town around 2:30 and we went straight to the vet to get Riley out of the kennel. He was so happy to see us he was shaking and whining. I always feel terrible when I have to leave him there.
Our next vacation will be Gatlinburg/Pigeon Forge, Tennessee this coming May, then a family trip to Disney in November 2015.
Posted by Peggy Sue Brister at 11:16 AM
Saturday, November 23, 2013
Disney Trip report Day 4 Wednesday, November 13th, 2013
I was up at 7 and had cereal. We headed out to Epcot for a 9 am opening. We were able to park in the AAA Diamond parking at this park. It really does get you closer to the entrance of the park rather than parking in regular parking and having to take a tram from your car to the entrance.
Our game plan when we go to Epcot is usually Jeremy power walks to the Land building where the Soarin ride is and he goes in and grabs fast passes for Soarin and I wait for him out front and then we walk over and ride Test Track first thing. But this time we did it backwards. I walked towards Soarin and went in and waited while Jeremy power walked over to Test Track and got fast passes.
Once he got back we rode Soarin then headed over to use our fast passes for Test Track. This ride is not as good as it use to be. Use to Test Track was an awesome ride but they decided they needed to reimagine it and they took out the best parts of the ride and added some elements that do nothing but kill time and make your wait longer.
They herd you into a room where you are suppose to design a car that will be your ride car during the ride. It is just a time kill of 4 minutes before moving you out into another segment of queue.
This time we decided to ride Ellen's Energy Adventure ride. I have been wanting to ride it every time we have been to Epcot but nobody else ever wanted to because it is a 40 minute long slow dark educational ride about energy. But this time Jeremy and I decided to try it out. It was very slow and very dark and I had a hard time not dozing off. Jeremy also said he was fighting sleep in there.
We just stayed up in the front of the park in Future World because we were going to take our afternoon break and come back to World Showcase later that night.
We ate lunch about 11:15 at the counter service place called Electric Umbrella. It is where we eat every time we are at Epcot.
Jeremy had the Chicken Breast nuggets with fries and I had a Caesar salad and picked the Chicken off of it. Total food bill for this was $22. No tip because it is a counter service place where you get your food and seat yourself. There are no waiters.
After we ate we decide to leave for the afternoon break and come back later for the evening fireworks show Illuminations. We have never stayed in the park long enough to see the evening show.
So we went back to the room and Jeremy attempted to take a nap while I stayed up tooting around on my computer and uploading some pics and videos to Facebook.
Later that afternoon we decided to go eat at Chili's before going back to Epcot. Jeremy had a grilled Chicken sandwich and I had the amazing Baked Potato soup. Jeremy didn't have a Margarita this time. (Bill $19 $5 tip)
While we were there my stomach started really hurting and bothering me to the point I decided I didn't want to go back to Epcot. So we went back to the room and just watched TV.
Up tomorrow is Animal Kingdom. We haven't been back to Animal Kingdom since our first trip with the kids back in October 2011.
Posted by Peggy Sue Brister at 11:02 AM
Friday, November 22, 2013
Disney Trip report Day 3, Tuesday, November 12th, 2013
I got up at 7:30. Jeremy of course had already been up for several hours. I ate some cereal and we headed to Hollywood Studios.
Even though we had the AAA Diamond parking pass they still directed us to park where everybody else was parking. But our parking place was pretty close to the front of the lot. I think they didn't know what they were doing and they were directing everybody to fill in the AAA spots thinking it was regular parking to be honest.
We got there about 8:50 for a 9 am opening and as soon as we were let in I gave Jeremy my ticket so he could go and get us some fast passes for Toy Story Midway Mania. I went directly to the Tower of Terror ride to ride it by myself because Jeremy doesn't like to ride that one. I made the mistake of not telling him what the ride does on the first trip when we all got on the ride together. I thought he knew it takes you way up and drops you and goes up and down dropping you several times. It is quite intense but it is FUN to me. He got off the ride and decided that once was enough for him and he has never ridden it again since.
After Tower of Terror Jeremy was waiting for me in the exit gift shop and we headed over to Rock N Roller Coaster and rode that with a minimal wait. We also saw Muppets 3D show and rode Toy Story when our fast pass time came up. We rode Star Tours once. Once is about all I can handle on that ride because it makes me very queasy. I have to basically keep my eyes closed for that whole ride. I don't know how ppl can ride that and NOT get queasy.
After that ride we went to the bakery in the park called Starring rolls and had a Napoleon pastry (which are to die for) and that was just $8.
We stayed in Hollywood Studios until around 12:30 and then headed for the parking lot. Once we got to the parking lot I called CiCi's Pizza and ordered us a Pizza to go that we would head over and pick up and take back to the room. They have Large one topping Pizzas for 5.99. And they are pretty decent Pizzas. So we picked the Pizza up and headed back to the room and ate.
Jeremy laid down and attempted to take a nap but he never really does fall asleep. He just rests in there for 20 minutes. I think I actually laid down and took a nap that day myself.
The room internet is still not working. It only worked for the first day and we have been using Jeremy's hot spot thing ever since.
We headed back to the park around 4 and decided to go ahead and eat an early dinner at the counter service place called ABC Commissary. It is a replica of the actual ABC TV Commissary in California.
Jeremy had Chicken breast nuggets and fries and I had a Caesar salad and picked the Chicken off of it. The total food bill was $21 with no tip. (No waiters to tip)
After we ate we headed back towards the Fantasmic show theater and they were just opening the gates to let ppl in. The actual show wasn't until 6:30 but if you want to get in and get good seats you need to be in there by 5:30 at the latest. So we got in there and got great seats and then proceeded to sit on the rock hard, cold benches for 90 minutes. It turned out to be quite interesting. We got rained on twice with no ponchos or umbrellas but it only lasted for about 5 minutes each time.
There was a large group of rather old ppl sitting next to us and on the row in front of us and they all knew each other and were talking back and forth. And finally the big, Grey haired man sitting next to me (he had on an amazing watch) started chatting with me. It turns out all of them were from Canada except 2, and those 2 were from Missouri and worked for the St Louis Cardinals.
All of the other folks who were from Canada were obvious wealthy snow birds. They live in Canada 6 months of the year and lived in Florida the other 6 months of the year when it is winter up there. They were funny though. The men were drinking beer and having a good time and the ladies were chattering and playing on their smart phones.
I was impressed to see ppl that age actually using smart phones. I know they couple next to us had to be at least 72/74 because he said he and his wife had been married 54 years.
We saw the Fantasmic show. It is one show we had never seen before. It was pretty interesting. I will take the kids back to see it next time we take them back to Disney in November 2015.
After the show was over we headed towards the back of the park where they had the display of Christmas lights. Every year during November and December Hollywood Studios puts on a light show called The Osborne Family Spectacle of dancing lights. There is a story behind the Osborne family selling their Christmas lights to Disney but you can Google that if you are interested.
But all the building down two different streets of the park were covered from floor to roof with millions of lights. And about every 15 to 20 minutes they start playing music and all the lights dance in unison to the music. We caught the tail end of the dancing but didn't stand around and stay back there waiting for it to happen again.
After that we headed out of the park and back to the room. Jeremy went to bed pretty much right when we got back and I stayed up until around 10 that night.
Up tomorrow EPCOT.
Posted by Peggy Sue Brister at 8:02 AM
Thursday, November 21, 2013
Disney Trip report Day 2, Monday November 11th, 2013
Jeremy was up at the crack of before dawn. He always is. But I didn't get up until 7:30. We had cereal in the room.
We had brought some groceries from home. We brought cereal for our breakfasts and Jeremy brought Protein bars for snacks and I brought Granola Bars. I also brought tea bags and Splenda so that I could make sweet tea for myself while we were there. Tea is the only thing I drink and I do not like it sweetened with Sugar so that rules out me getting sweet tea in a store. So I made up some tea, we ate breakfasts and we left out headed for Universal Studios around 8:15 for a 9 am opening.
It takes longer to get into the Universal parks. Normally at the Disney parks we have a AAA Diamond parking pass that lets us park up close to the front of the parking lot right next to the handicapped parking. But at Universal/Island of Adventure there is no close up parking. You have to park in a 5 story parking garage and walk and walk and walk all the way down about 4 segments of moving walkway that goes on for about a mile, then you have to walk completely through what they call CITY WALK. It is about another mile of restaurants and stores and shops. They even have bars and movie theaters there. But it is a very long walk to get from your car to the Universal parks.
We went to got in the park about 8:50 and headed straight for the new Transformers ride. Any hot headliner ride in whatever park you are in it is best that once you get in you head straight for the headliner ride. And with Transformers being new to the park, that was the hot ticket ride.
Transformers is a simulator ride just like Spider Man and The Simpsons and Despicable Me, if you have ever ridden any of those Transformers is the same type of ride. Usually simulators make me very queasy because I get motion sick very easy but I take Meclizine/Antivert in the mornings when I know we will be riding the ones that make me sick.
The Transformers ride was very good. Great 3D and the storyline of the ride was interesting. I only had to close my eyes on it once or twice. I didn't get sick from it. We rode another one of our favorite rides, the Mummy. And every time we get on it we say we forgot how intense it is. It seems like every time we go back they have made it faster or something. It is an indoor coaster and it is pretty fast and swervy. (Is that even a word?)
It was pretty hot outside this day. It was the tail end of a hot spell with a cold front coming. But this day I was getting pretty hot. We had finished everything we wanted to do in the park before 11 am and decided to not try and kill time to wait so I could see my favorite Universal show, Beetlejuice Rock and Roll Graveyard revue. I have seen it about 4 times but I like to see it. So I try to see it when we go but the last 2 times we didn't stay for it. Universal is a park that unless you have never been there before only takes a couple of hours to get through. If you have never been and you want to ride everything you can make it last all day. But we have been so many times we only ride the ones we know we like and skip all the rest.
We decided to hop over to Island of Adventure, which is the Universal sister park. And they are right next to each other so you only have to walk out of one park, up the walkway a short bit and into the next park. We have annual passes for the Universal parks so we can park hop between parks.
When we got into Island of Adventure we were kind of starving so we had a Churro then went to the Harry Potter land to ride the main attraction back there, Forbidden Journey. Now this is a ride that does make me queasy every time I ride it and about halfway through I usually have to shut my eyes for most of the second half of the ride but we keep riding it because I love it. This time even Jeremy got a little queasy and he usually isn't prone to motion sickness.
By the time we got through riding it we were ready for lunch. We decided to eat at the Three Broomsticks restaurant back in Harry Potter land. It is not a table service place. It is a counter service place where you pay for your food and seat yourself but it does have indoor tables like a table service place. They just don't have ppl in there waiting on you. You get your food and drinks, sit down and eat and when you are done you dump your trash and go.
This was the first time we had ever eaten here and it was pretty good. Jeremy had the Fish and Chips and I had just sides of roasted Potatoes and Corn on the Cob. Both of which were excellent by the way. If I had known that Jeremy was being sneaky and taking pictures of me eating I may have sat at a different table than he. LOL. He likes to catch those BAD horrible shots of you then show them to you and threaten to post them on facebook. Anyway the bill on that meal was $23 with no tip needed.
I went over to Dr Seuss land so that I could go in the Cat in The Hat Candy shop and get the kids some candy to take home for them. We spent $36 in there on just a handful of things. Typical over-priced theme park stuff.
We left there headed back to the room for a nap and stopped at Walmart to pick up a few items on the way. We both rested for a few hours then got up and went and had dinner at Chili's. Jeremy had a grilled Chicken sandwich and I had the Baked Potato soup with no onions. Chili's has some of the best Potato soup I have ever had. I could eat it for every meal. Tab was $23 with $7 tip.
We went back to the room and had our baths then settled in to watch 2 movies I had brought with me, The Purge and Parkland. All the condos have dvd players in the living room. I had already seen The Purge. It was very good, scary and kept you on the edge of your seat. Parkland was good. It was about the day of and the 3 days following the JFK assassination.
At this point we were able to connect to the resort wi-fi yesterday but today it is very iffy and not being able to connect. Since Jeremy and I both sit with computers in front of us in our down time it was fortunate that he has a mobile hot spot he bought from AT&T that acted as our wi-fi for the week. He uses it for work but it came in very handy at the resort or we would have been sitting there in internet withdrawls. It would have made for a very bad week.
Up next tomorrow Disney's Hollywood Studios.
Posted by Peggy Sue Brister at 12:19 PM
Wednesday, November 20, 2013
Disney Trip report day 1 Departure day- November 10th, 2013
We got up at 3 am. We weren't flying this time. We are driving the 12 hours from Mississippi to Orlando. I hate road trips. As much as I hate to drive, Jeremy hates to fly. We have been 6 times and we have driven 3 and flown 3. Jeremy said if we were going back we were DRIVING. So we drove.
We stopped at a Waffle House about one hour into the drive in some little hick town some place between Vicksburg and Hattiesburg. Jeremy had a full breakfast meal and I had Biscuits and Gravy. ($12 tab $5 tip)
We stopped once for gas then at 11:30 we stopped at the same place we stop every time we drive. The Denny's in Midway, Florida. Jeremy had what he always has a Grilled Chicken Sandwich and I had what I always have a scrambled Egg sandwich. ($19 tab $6 tip)
We were headed for Wyndham's Bonnet Creek timeshare resort in Orlando. We have recently bought into the Wyndham timeshare program and we were staying on points.
We got to the resort around 4 pm and got checked in. They put us in tower 5 room 591 with a view facing the pool and lazy river. Decent room.
After we got unpacked we drove over to the Disney resort Port Orleans Riverside because they have a boat that goes to Downtown Disney. It is almost impossible to ever find a parking spot in any of the DTD parking lots so we take a boat from a resort. We were headed there to eat. We had a 6:30 reservation at the T-Rex Cafe.
We flashed our Landry's Select membership card and were seated immediately with no wait. (A perk of being a member when the wait to be seated is usually 30 to 45 minutes) We even get much better/quicker service being members. We had fast excellent service that night but the food was bad.
On our October 2012 visit we had a family dinner there and everybody loved their food. I am not sure if we were just starving last year or if the food has really gone downhill. I ordered the Fried Shrimp and the Shrimp was so bland you couldn't even tell what you were eating. No flavor and no seasoning at all. It was bad.
Jeremy ordered what he had on our last trip, the T-Bone steak and this time it was so tough he could barely cut it. Needless to say we won't be going back there any time soon. ($65 tab $16 tip)
We rode the boat back to Port Orleans Riverside resort and stopped on the way back to the room to pick up some Milk. Our plan was to just eat breakfast every morning in the condo. We were back at the room by 8:30. Jeremy almost immediately went to bed and I stayed up for another few hours because I just wasn't sleepy yet.
Up tomorrow Universal Studios.
(The room was decent but we did not get a booking in time to reserve a Presidential suite and we had to take a standard deluxe suite. It is nice but not as nice as the upgraded units that we will be staying in from now on. The couch and chair was very old and dated and kind of sunk down when you sat on it. Very uncomfortable. Jeremy made that his home for the week while I made my home in a bar stool at the bar. Our room was the first room on your right you came to when you got off the elevator, which is good because they have very long hallways. I was pleased with the room location. The bed was a lot lower to the ground than our bed at home so it was weird getting into it but the bed was super soft and comfy and had great soft pillows.)
Posted by Peggy Sue Brister at 7:07 PM
Thursday, October 31, 2013
HAPPY HALLOWEEN!! Looks like the kiddos are going to get rained on tonight trick or treating. But mine aren't going. Our trick or treating days are over I guess. Neither of mine wanted to go this year. It's kind of sad. But they still got a bucket full of Halloween candy. I bought them some and Dayton ate it almost all gone in 2 days. He is like a candy vacuum. That kid inhales any candy within a one mile radius of his face hole. Katelyn has barely touched hers.
Maybe there will be a break in the storm between 6 and 8 pm where they can get in some trick or treating.
In other news we will be leaving for our 7 night Disney trip in 9 days. It is just the husband and myself this trip. We will be staying at a Wyndham timeshare resort Bonnet Creek. (We are Wyndham owners)
Maybe there will be a break in the storm between 6 and 8 pm where they can get in some trick or treating.
In other news we will be leaving for our 7 night Disney trip in 9 days. It is just the husband and myself this trip. We will be staying at a Wyndham timeshare resort Bonnet Creek. (We are Wyndham owners)
Posted by Peggy Sue Brister at 7:32 AM
Friday, October 11, 2013
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
|United States Senator|
January 3, 2013
Serving with John Cornyn
|Preceded by||Kay Bailey Hutchison|
|Solicitor General of Texas|
January 9, 2003 – May 2008
|Preceded by||Julie Parsley|
|Succeeded by||James Ho|
|Born||Rafael Edward Cruz|
December 22, 1970 (age 42)
|Spouse(s)||Heidi Suzanne (Nelson) Cruz|
|Alma mater||Princeton University (A.B.)(1992) (cum laude)|
Harvard University (J.D.) (1995)(magna cum laude)
|Website||Ted Cruz for Senate|
Senator Ted Cruz
Rafael Edward "Ted" Cruz (born December 22, 1970) is the junior United States Senator for the state of Texas since 2013, and is a member of the Republican Party. He was Solicitor General of Texas from 2003 to May 2008, after being appointed by Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott. He was the first HispanicSolicitor General in Texas, the youngest Solicitor General in the United States, and the Solicitor General with the longest tenure in Texas history. He was also the first Hispanic to be elected U.S. Senator from Texas.
Cruz was a partner at the law firm Morgan, Lewis & Bockius, where he led the firm’s U.S. Supreme Court and national appellate litigation practice.
Between 1999 and 2003, Cruz served as the director of the Office of Policy Planning at the Federal Trade Commission, an Associate Deputy Attorney General at the United States Department of Justice, and as Domestic Policy Advisor to U.S. President George W. Bush on the 2000 Bush-Cheney campaign. In addition, Cruz was an Adjunct Professor of Law at the University of Texas School of Law in Austin, where he taught U.S. Supreme Court litigation, from 2004 to 2009.
Cruz was the Republican nominee for the Senate seat which was vacated by fellow Republican Kay Bailey Hutchison. On July 31, 2012, he defeated Lieutenant Governor David Dewhurst in the Republican primary runoff, 57–43. Cruz defeated the Democrat, former state Representative Paul Sadler, in the general election held on November 6, 2012; he prevailed with 56–41 over Sadler. Cruz supports the Tea Party and is endorsed by the Tea Party movement and the Republican Liberty Caucus.
On November 14, 2012, Cruz was appointed vice-chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee.
Cruz was born in Calgary, Alberta, where his parents, Eleanor Elizabeth Wilson Darragh and Rafael Bienvenido Cruz, were working in the oil business. His parents owned a seismic-data processing firm for oil drillers. Cruz's father, who was born in 1939 in Matanzas, Cuba,"suffered beatings and imprisonment for protesting the oppressive regime" of dictator Fulgencio Batista. He fought for communist revolutionary Fidel Castro in the Cuban Revolution when he was 14 years old, but "didn't know Castro was a Communist." A few years later he became a staunch critic of Castro when "the rebel leader took control and began seizing private property and suppressing dissent." The elder Cruz fled Cuba in 1957 at the age of 18, landing inAustin to study at the University of Texas, knowing no English and with only $100 sewn into his underwear. His younger sister fought in the counter-revolution and was tortured by the new regime. He remained regretful for his early support of Castro, and emphatically conveyed this remorse to his young son over the following years. The elder Cruz worked his way through college as a dishwasher, making 50 cents an hour, earning a degree in mathematics. Cruz's father today is a pastor in Carrollton, Texas, a Dallas suburb, and became a U.S. citizen in 2005.
Cruz's mother was born and raised in Wilmington, Delaware, in a family of Irish and Italian descent. She was the first person in her family to attend college. She earned an undergraduate degree in mathematics from Rice University in Houston in the 1950s, working summers at Foley's and Shell Oil. She later worked in Houston as a computer programmer at Shell. Cruz has said, "I'm Cuban, Irish, and Italian, and yet somehow I ended up Southern Baptist."
Cruz's parents returned to Houston in 1974, after working in the Alberta oil fields, when a slump hit the price of oil and they sold their first seismic data company. Cruz's mother and father divorced after he left home.
Cruz attended high school at Faith West Academy in Katy, Texas, and later graduated from Second Baptist High School in Houston as valedictorian in 1988. During high school, Cruz participated in a Houston-based group called the Free Market Education Foundation where Cruz learned about free-market economic philosophers such as Milton Friedman, Friedrich Hayek, Frédéric Bastiat and Ludwig von Mises. The program was run by Rolland Storey and Cruz entered the program at the age of 13.
Cruz graduated cum laude from Princeton University with a Bachelor of Arts from the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs in 1992. While at Princeton, he competed for the American Whig-Cliosophic Society's Debate Panel and won the top speaker award at both the 1992 U.S. National Debating Championship and the 1992 North American Debating Championship. In 1992, he was named U.S. National Speaker of the Year and Team of the Year (with his debate partner, David Panton). Cruz was also a semi-finalist at the 1995 World Universities Debating Championship.
Cruz's senior thesis on the separation of powers, titled "Clipping the Wings of Angels," draws its inspiration from a passage attributed to President James Madison: "If angels were to govern men, neither external nor internal controls on government would be necessary." Cruz argued that the drafters of the Constitution intended to protect the rights of their constituents, and the last two items in the Bill of Rightsoffered an explicit stop against an all-powerful state. Cruz wrote: "They simply do so from different directions. The Tenth stops new powers, and the Ninth fortifies all other rights, or non-powers."
After graduating from Princeton, Cruz attended Harvard Law School, graduating magna cum laude in 1995 with a Juris Doctor. While at Harvard Law, Cruz was a primary editor of the Harvard Law Review, and executive editor of the Harvard Journal of Law and Public Policy, and a founding editor of the Harvard Latino Law Review. Referring to Cruz's time as a student at Harvard Law, Professor Alan Dershowitzsaid, "Cruz was off-the-charts brilliant." At Harvard Law, Cruz was a John M. Olin Fellow in Law and Economics.
Cruz served as a law clerk to J. Michael Luttig of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit in 1995 and William Rehnquist, Chief Justice of the United States in 1996. Cruz was the first Hispanic ever to clerk for a Chief Justice of the United States.
After Cruz finished his clerkships, he took a position with Cooper, Carvin & Rosenthal, which is now known as Cooper & Kirk, LLC, from 1997 to 1998.
In 1998, Cruz served as private counsel for Congressman John Boehner during Boehner's lawsuit against Congressman Jim McDermott for releasing a tape recording of a Boehner telephone conversation.
Cruz joined the Bush–Cheney campaign in 1999 as a domestic policy adviser, advising then-Governor George W. Bush on a wide range of policy and legal matters, including civil justice, criminal justice, constitutional law, immigration, and government reform.
Cruz assisted in assembling the Bush legal team, devise strategy, and draft pleadings in the Florida and U.S. Supreme Courts during the 2000 Florida presidential recounts, winning twice in the U.S. Supreme Court.
After President Bush took office, Cruz served as an associate deputy attorney general in the U.S. Justice Department and as the director of policy planning at the U.S. Federal Trade Commission.
Texas Solicitor General
Appointed to the office of Solicitor General of Texas by Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott, Cruz served in that position from 2003 to 2008.
Cruz has authored more than 80 United States Supreme Court briefs and presented 43 oral arguments, including nine before the United States Supreme Court.Cruz's record of having argued before the Supreme Court nine times is more than any practicing lawyer in Texas or any current member of Congress. Cruz has commented on his nine cases in front of the U.S. Supreme Court: "We ended up year after year arguing some of the biggest cases in the country. There was a degree of serendipity in that, but there was also a concerted effort to seek out and lead conservative fights."
In the landmark case of District of Columbia v. Heller, Cruz drafted the amicus brief signed by attorneys general of 31 states, which said that the D.C. handgun ban should be struck down as infringing upon the Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms. Cruz also presented oral argument for the amici states in the companion case to Heller before the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.
In addition to his victory in Heller, Cruz has successfully defended the constitutionality of Ten Commandments monument on the Texas State Capitol grounds before the Fifth Circuit and the U.S. Supreme Court, winning 5-4 in Van Orden v. Perry.
Cruz authored a U.S. Supreme Court brief for all 50 states successfully defending the recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance in public schools, winning 9-0 in Elk Grove Unified School District v. Newdow.
Cruz served as lead counsel for the state and successfully defended the multiple litigation challenges to the 2003 Texas congressional redistricting plan in state and federal district courts and before the U.S. Supreme Court, winning 5-4 in League of United Latin American Citizens v. Perry.
Cruz also successfully defended, in Medellin v. Texas, the State of Texas against an attempt by the International Court of Justice to re-open the criminal convictions of 51 murderers on death row throughout the United States.
Cruz has been named by American Lawyer magazine as one of the 50 Best Litigators under 45 in America, by The National Law Journal as one of the 50 Most Influential Minority Lawyers in America, and by Texas Lawyer as one of the 25 Greatest Texas Lawyers of the Past Quarter Century.
After leaving the Solicitor General position in 2008, he worked in a private law firm in Houston, Morgan, Lewis & Bockius, often representing corporate clients, until he was sworn in a U.S. Senator from Texas in 2013. At Morgan, Lewis, he led the firm’s U.S. Supreme Court and national appellate litigation practice.
In 2009, while working for Morgan, Lewis, Cruz formed and then abandoned a bid for state attorney general when the incumbent Attorney General Greg Abbott, who hired Cruz as Solicitor General, decided to run for re-election.
Cruz's election has been described by the Washington Post as “the biggest upset of 2012 . . . a true grassroots victory against very long odds.” On January 19, 2011, after U.S. Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison said she would not seek reelection, Cruz announced his candidacy via a blogger conference call. In the Republican senatorial primary, Cruz ran against sitting Lieutenant Governor David Dewhurst. Cruz was endorsed by the Club for Growth, a fiscally conservative political action committee; Erick Erickson, editor of prominent conservative blog RedState; the FreedomWorks for America super PAC; nationally syndicated radio hostMark Levin; former Attorney General Edwin Meese; Tea Party Express; Young Conservatives of Texas; and U.S. Senators Tom Coburn, Jim DeMint, Mike Lee, Rand Paul and Pat Toomey. He was also endorsed by former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin and former Texas Congressman Ron Paul, George P. Bush, and former U.S. Senator from Pennsylvania Rick Santorum.
Cruz won the runoff for the Republican nomination with a 14-point margin over Dewhurst. In the November 6 general election, Cruz faced Democrat Paul Sadler, an attorney and a former state representative from Henderson, in east Texas. Cruz won with 4.5 million votes (56.4%) to Sadler's 3.2 million (40.6%). Two minor candidates got the remaining 3% of the vote. Cruz got 40% of the Hispanic vote.
Cruz is pro-life, with an exception only when a pregnancy endangers the mother's life. Cruz also supports a federal definition of marriage and opposes same-sex marriage.
Cruz is a gun-rights supporter. On March 25, 2013, an announcement was made by Cruz and U.S. Senators Rand Paul and Mike Lee threatening that they would filibuster any legislation that would entailgun control, such as the Manchin-Toomey Amendment, which would require additional background checks on sales at gun shows. On April 17, 2013, Cruz voted against the Manchin-Toomey Amendment. Republicans successfully filibustered the amendment by a vote of 54–46, as 60 votes were needed for cloture.
Regarding foreign policy, in 2004, he criticized Democratic Presidential candidate John Kerry for being "against defending American values, against standing up to our enemies, and, in effect, for appeasing totalitarian despots."  In 2013, Cruz stated that America had no “dog in the fight” during the Syrian civil war.
Affordable Care Act
In the summer of 2013, Cruz embarked on a nationwide tour sponsored by The Heritage Foundation to promote the congressional effort to defund the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, arguing that a shutdown of the government would not be a disaster for America or the Republican Party.
On September 24, 2013, Cruz began a speech on the floor of the Senate regarding the Affordable Care Act relative to a continuing resolution designed to fund the government and avert a government shutdown. Cruz promised to keep speaking until he was "no longer able to stand." Cruz yielded the floor at noon the following day for the start of the proceeding legislative session after twenty-one hours nineteen minutes. His speech was the fourth-longest in United States Senate history. Following Cruz's speech, the Senate voted 100–0 regarding a "procedural hurdle toward passing a stopgap funding bill to avert a government shutdown." Cruz was joined by 18 Republican senators in his effort to prevent stripping out a clause that would have defunded the Affordable Care by voting against thecloture motion, leaving the effort 21 votes short of the required number to deny cloture.
Posted by Peggy Sue Brister at 11:32 AM