The Insta-Home Challenge: Richmond

by Mike on March 13, 2012 · 10 comments

As you might have seen from a previous post of mine, we really enjoy making our living space homey and personalized. But how is that even possible on tour, since The Lion King sits in each city for just about one month at a time? The single most popular question I get is, “Where do you live in each city?”

Disney provides us with a per diem allowance in order to cover accommodations and food while we travel. Then, company management locks in good deals for long-term stays in hotels, usually close to the theater in each city. While sans wife and child in Minneapolis, I stayed at the Doubletree Suites and had a short, sweet commute to work, daily room cleaning, and access to workout facilities — but paid $60-70 per night. That’s a good rate for a hotel, but to pay that for an entire month? It shook out to be about $2000 plus lots of meals out, since I didn’t have a full kitchen.

But these hotels are optional. What’s interesting is we can do whatever we like with our per diem. We could live in a tent if we wanted to, as long as we made it to work on time and continued doing our job well. (Ang is not a fan of the tent idea.) Most of the hotels are nice enough, but without the full kitchens or separate bedrooms, it’s too high of a price to pay for the ironic inconvenience. We have our car with us, and drive it from city to city. So we look to find our own furnished housing rentals, and our discovery? Vacation rentals are the best way to go, for our little family of three.

For our first city as a family — Richmond — we used a website called and booked a charming turn of the century 3-bedroom rowhouse in a neighborhood called Carver, which was only a 10-15 minute walking commute to the Landmark Theater and populated with VCU college students.

It was an old but well-kept home with a fully-stocked kitchen, flat-screen televisions with cable, a huge movie library, a comfy dining room, washer/dryer and backyard. Lining the walls were original paintings by the owner Susie’s son and one the most comfortable beds I’ve ever slept in, in a huge sun-filled master bedroom.

All linens and soaps were included as well. And the best thing for us?  Susie provided us with a bounty of baby gear and toys! Max had a booster seat, stroller, bathub, toys, pack ‘n play crib, and videos to keep him occupied. It was a wonderful place to start my family out on tour life.

Actually, the best best part of our first stop in Richmond? Our good friend Theresa (she was the dance captain at Lion King in Las Vegas, and is now on tour with us) stayed in the third bedroom, and we loved having her as our roommate – so much so, we are living side by side again in New Orleans! Max relished going on dates with “Cheesa” and she graciously babysat him while Ang and I went to the gym in the morning or grabbed dinner and drinks after the show. We are so lucky!

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{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

Mr B March 13, 2012 at 7:17 pm

Ang: What a great solution to your situation on the road. We are so happy it is going well for your lovely family.


Angela March 19, 2012 at 9:40 pm

We are having a good time so far Mr. B!! It’s always great to hear from you on our blog. Thanks for checking in!


Ron McPeak March 13, 2012 at 8:05 pm

We can totally hear Max saying “Cheesa”. Love your blog, Hollicks!


Mike March 19, 2012 at 9:32 pm

Thanks Ron! Max misses you and chants your name when watching Dinosaur Train!


JOEY B March 13, 2012 at 8:38 pm

This was a very illuminating article. I have always wondered about what actors do for housing when they stay in a place for a while. It must be fun to live in a new place every so often. Good luck with your house hunting in other cities and I look forward to seeing what sort of homes you end up in.


Mike March 19, 2012 at 9:33 pm

Thanks Joey, we appreciate you following our blog! We live a crazy life to some, but we enjoy it!


Amanda March 15, 2012 at 3:15 am

Cool house! What would we do without these websites. Have you heard of airbnb? It’s also a good one to use. Best of luck!


Angela March 19, 2012 at 9:41 pm

Hi Amanda, we’ve used airbnb a bunch too – that is where we found our New Orleans place! Check it out:


John Watson March 16, 2012 at 4:02 pm

We just saw the Lion King last night and loved it!


Michael March 17, 2012 at 1:26 am

Thanks, John! I’m so glad!


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