Sunday, July 07, 2013

Thursday, June 27 (Disney World, Day 2)

Benjamin apparently has a habit of showing up to Disney World completely wiped out. On this fine morning we rode the Disney Railroad to Fantasyland Station, where we disembarked to enjoy some time at Casey Jr.'s splash pad (while Benjamin continued his nap).

This time we were smart and packed the girls' swimsuits so they were free to get completely soaked without having the hassle of being uncomfortable for the entire day afterward.

Being a little bit wet feels great when it's super hot outside, but my girls are incapable of getting just a little bit wet (especially Rachel).

We'd kicked Andrew off the train at Frontierland so that he could get fastpasses for Peter Pan. That ride was wildly and inexplicably popular.

He caught up to us at the splash pad and helped change the girls into their clothes before we all got in line for  Tomorrowland's Speedway. There was a Middle Eastern couple behind us in line and we debated whether or not we should speak to them—ask them where they were from, how long they were here, that kind of thing—but we debated it so long that it would have been awkward to start a conversation in Arabic.

"So, we've just been standing here, listening to you prattle on in Arabic and... Oh, hey, did we mention we speak Arabic?"

So we just didn't say anything.

Just as we were herded around the corner of the line-up (those things remind me so much of cattle alleyways) Miriam got separated from us and instead of picking her way through the line to us or calling out to us or anything she just stuck her thumb in her mouth and began to soothe herself by sucking methodically and pulling on her ear. She was terrified but you'd never know it from how she looked on the outside.

"Miriam!" I yelled, and reached through our Arab line-mates to grab Miriam and pull her through.

That girl had to be holding someone's hand or sitting in the stroller the rest of the day. Whenever I'd let go of her hand for any reason she'd whimper, "Mom! Hold my hand! I don't want to get lost again!"

Andrew told me that I should have said, "Miriam, yella!" or something, to tip off to the Arabs behind us that we speak Arabic. But later when their son wandered up past us in line and they were looking around from him, Andrew pointed at him and said, "Hua imamna," which means, "He's in front of us."

Frankly, I don't think they even realized he was speaking Arabic. But they were happy to find their son.

When it was our turn to ride, we put the girls in the driver's seat and buckled up for dear life. They were both terrible drivers, but I suppose that's to be expected since they're only 3 and 5.

At one point in the course Miriam gave up driving at all. She let go of the steering wheel and clung to my leg for dear life. Meanwhile, our car was out of control, thrashing from one side of the track to the other. I drove the rest of the course with one hand while I cuddled her head in my lap with the other. It was actually kind of difficult to steer.

Andrew and Rachel kept trying to get us to crash into their car. Those sillies!

Next up was the Monsters Inc. Laugh Floor, which was hilarious. They had comedians off camera somewhere, being the voices for an animated monster. And they were really funny. For one of the skits, they chose to do a screen shot of our family, including a "three-headed human." Andrew, you see, had both girls sitting on his lap. Whenever they showed us on the screen the audience had to saw "Awkward..." They had a couple other shots of the audience, with cues to say specific things for each shot and then they had a monster trying to tell a story, which the audience kept interrupting. They did other things, too. Like I said, it was funny.

When it was over, Andrew and I took Rachel on Stitch's Great Escape, which was the lamest ride ever.  Basically, we were in a dark auditorium while Stitch "ran around" and made mischief—he jumped on our shoulders and burped in our faces and spat at us. It was gross. And boring. And lame.

So to make up for it we went on Buzz Lightyear's Space Ranger Spin. Andrew took the game very seriously (and scored something like 650000 points, I kid you not), but not as seriously as Miriam who screamed, "I don't even know how to shoot a gun!" as we were coming face to face with our first foe.

She ended up figuring it out fairly well, considering she got more than double Rachel's score.

Benjamin was on Grandma and Grandpa's team.

In the end we all defeated Zerg. Andrew left us to go pick up more fastpasses while we found our way to Peter Pan. The wait times for that ride were ridiculous! Fortunately, with the fastpass, we didn't have long to wait. It was a lovely ride—and is actually one of my favourites at Dinseyland—but I don't ever remember it being so popular!

We took another ride on It's A Small World and this time Benjamin was awake for it. He loved it, just as I thought he would. Miriam was singing along the entire time, only stopping to admire a particular dancing puppet and dream aloud about one day getting to be that puppet (like Pinocchio in reverse).

For lunch we stopped by Pecos Bill: Tall Tale Inn and Cafe for lunch, which was probably our favourite place to eat out of the four days we ate out. Grandpa and I left Andrew and Grandma to order while we found a table, which was quite the trick. The upstairs was much less crowded so we found two tables together and claimed them. Then Grandpa left me with the kids while he went to help carry trays. The girls started whining so I started a game of Eye Spy.

I went first and then Miriam wanted a turn. We don't always let the winner take a turn because if that was the case Miriam would rarely get a turn. She's not great at spying things, whether it's her turn to guess or whether people are guessing what she's chosen.

"I spy with my little eye something what It's my shirt! See this stripe here? It's pink! So I win!"

"You're so bad at this game!" Rachel scolded and then turned to me to whine, "She's so bad at this game! She doesn't even play it right! You don't even play it right, Miriam!"

"Yes, I know. She's only three. She'll get the hang of it eventually. Let's just move on. Rachel, your turn—go!"

"Okay," Rachel humphed. "We believe..."

She slowly turned to meet my eyes and we both burst out laughing.

Sometimes we're too lazy to do actual scripture reading so we just work on memorizing/refreshing our Articles of Faith. We did a lot of that on these theme-park days because we were all so tired when we'd get home. Sometimes the girls grumble about having to recite when it's their turn and the cue we use to "force" them to recite is the same one I'd use to tell Rachel to take her turn for Eye Spy. She was going to repeat the whole second article of faith for me (since that's her favourite and is always the first one she says when it's her turn (we usually say two each)).

The girls kept taking turns pretending to forget we were playing Eye Spy, slipping out a little "We believe...oh, oops!" and then dissolving into giggles. I laughed with them a little bit each time but it was really only funny the first time.

Much of our lunch conversation revolved around mining practices. The next ride we had slated, you see, was Big Thunder Mountain and somehow word got out that we'd be on a mining cart. Rachel flipped out.

"It looks just like Utah!" I told her—the mountains being modeled after Bryce Canyon. It also includes a bit of Yellowstone-type landscape and is just really fun.

"None of it is underground," we assured her. See, there are all sorts of mining techniques. There's underground mining, like the coal mine featured in the Dudley Do-Right ride, and then there's surface mining—like panning for gold. The Big Thunder Mountain ride is based on the gold rush. It's all on the surface. There was nothing to worry about. This ride was going to fun! It's Grandma's favourite!

Unfortunately, when we were busy pulling up wikipedia articles to support all the information we were telling Rachel about mines, what we should have been looking up was information about the ride itself because we totally fed Rachel false information. None of us had been to Disneyland in years and couldn't quite remember how the ride went (just that it was awesome and that someone died on it once (but we didn't tell that part to Rachel)).

Let's take a peek at a few snippets from Wikipedia:

The action of the ride takes place completely in the sagging, rotting tunnels of the mountain.... [T]he thrills on Big Thunder Mountain Railroad are meant to come from the perceived instability of the mine and its threats of collapse.

Obviously Rachel, who panics at the mere mention of the word mine, was going to love this. Not only is it a mine but it's an instable one, too!

Leaving the station, the trains immediately enter a dark tunnel and make a tight left hand turn.

Oh, sorry Rachel. By 'none of it is underground,' what we meant to say was, 'you'll immediately be plunged into darkness.' Hope that's okay.

After a short straightaway during which the sounds of bats can be heard...

That was Rachel's favourite part. Not. (It wasn't mine either—in my opinion it was just a tad too loud).

Clearly our memory of the ride was a lot different from how it actually was. Even Grandma remarked that the ride seemed longer than she remembered (and, actually, Big Thunder Mountain is 25% larger at Disney World than it is a Disneyland). I suppose we all just remembered the parts we liked. Thankfully, though, we got the "scary" parts over with quickly and the fun parts were all that were left. Rachel ended up loving the ride, even though she was screaming about the lies we told at the beginning. Her favourite part was that the seats were nicely padded so she didn't hurt her back—it was the first roller coaster she went on that didn't leave her a nasty bruise.

I guess Andrew went off to get more fastpasses while we headed back over to the carousel because he doesn't remember meeting these villagers from Belle's village. Rachel was so excited, though! She had been waiting to meet "a character" the whole time we were there. They kept trying to break through the crowd to leave, but did spend a few minutes with Rachel, calling her Pipi Longstocking.

Miriam refused to get out of her stroller so they stood by her for a picture.

Here we are waiting in line for the carousel:

I can't remember if it was this day or the day before (I think it was the day before), but we were just getting back to Benjamin after leaving him (either with Grandpa while we went on Big Thunder Mountain if it was on this day...or with Grandma and Grandpa while we went on Splash Mountain the day before). Andrew got to him first, which was fine, but when I caught up to them, Benjamin reached out to me and exclaimed, "Momma!" And my heart melted into a little puddle right on the spot. He's such a sweet little baby!

The carousel was, of course, a big hit. Here are a thousand pictures to prove it:

After our carousel ride we attempted to remove the sword from the stone.

The only one strong enough to remove it (partially) was Daddy (but it took a lot of work):

We still have no idea how he did it. There has to be some sort of a trick to it.

The girls enjoyed taking a potty break by Rapunzel's tower. Tangled is Miriam's favourite movie and she would like one day to grow her hair as long as Rapunzel (but I think that's a remote possibility).

You should've seen Miriam dancing around the square. She just loved it!

Rachel was excited to stop by the Liberty Bell on our way to...somewhere. I'm all mixed up about what we did where and when.

Here we are walking under some castle-esque arches in Fantasyland.

And here we are enjoying the teacups again, only this time the girls rode with Andrew so they could spin and Grandma rode with me and Benjamin (we only did a little bit of spinning).

Grandma and Grandpa had taken Miriam and Benjamin on The Peoplemover while Andrew, Rachel and I were at Stitch's Great Escape, but Rachel really wanted to go on it as well, so we took all the kids on it again.

Miriam was excited about it.

Just as we were getting on the ride a dance party of sorts broke out in the courtyard. It was still going on when we finished the tour of Tomorrowland so we joined in.

The girls had fun being fangirls at the stagefront and were thrilled to pieces when the characters came down to dance with the audience.

Rachel and Andrew eventually skipped out to ride Space Mountain while I stayed and danced with Miriam (Benjamin, meanwhile, was napping in his stroller under the ever-watchful eyes of his grandparents). Miriam got in a lot of dancing time and was thrilled to pieces.

I must say, this was the best way to "meet a character," at least for our children who weren't too particular about who they wanted to meet. We got to meet several, we didn't have to wait in line to do it, and it was a lot of fun!

Rachel stumbled off Space Mountain uttering the words, "That was awesome!"

She's apparently become somewhat desensitized to roller coasters and even though Space Mountain is practically pitch-black for the majority of the ride Rachel found it exhilarating and was even offering words of comfort to a French woman who was standing in line with her.

When she and Andrew had returned from Space Mountain we took the girls up to do the Astro Orbiter. It was fun—though a little dizzying—and offered a great view of the park.

It was time to join the masses in waiting for the electrical parade after that and even though we showed up over an hour early we didn't get a fabulous spot. Fortunately, however, we were able to grab a spot right behind a garbage can. 

The park was filled with an inordinate number of Brazilians (like, seriously, so many Brazilians—several tour groups consisting of Brazilian teenagers were there, in addition to regular families) and as luck would have it we found ourselves parade-neighbours with some elderly Brazilians. They let us wait by our garbage can until the parade started and then one of the sweet ladies grabbed Rachel and put her in front of her so that she could see the parade better.

She stroked Rachel's hair and helped Rachel be brave enough to shake characters' hands as they walked by. It was so kind of her to realize that we didn't have a great spot to be watching the parade from and that having Rachel stand in front of her would do nothing to block her view. Karen spoke to her a little bit in Portuguese.

We enjoyed the parade, enough though we have a hunch that it might be the original choreography from the 1950s, but we really loved "Celebrate the Magic". Basically they just projected a movie onto Cinderella's castle, but it was so neat. They made the castle look like it was melting at times, splashed it with colour, told various stories, was magical.

I think the girls' favourite part, though, was when Tinkerbell flew away from the castle.

After the shoe was fireworks, which the girls loved. Benjamin, however, had had it by that point in the evening and just wanted to nurse/sleep. I wasn't sure he could do either during a fireworks show but somehow he managed to do both.

It was so hot in the crowd of people. Grandma looked at her phone to check the weather and it said that it should only be around 80 degrees but we were absolutely melting! Once the shows were all over and the crowd had somewhat dispersed we realized that what we'd been feeling was body heat, not weather! It was just like those crazy Japanese honey bees that vibrate en masse in order to raise the body temperature of their foe, the Asian Giant Hornet. It was just about that hot!

Our kids were so exhausted on the way back to the car. Benjamin, who'd woken up when we started moving, somehow managed to stay awake on the ferry and tram and all the way to the car. Miriam, however, has no memory of riding on the ferry at all. We had to tie her head back to keep her from falling out of the stroller!

Rachel tried taking a rest as well, though I don't think she quite managed to fall asleep.

Leaving Disney World for the last time this trip was both happy and sad. We had so much fun and wished the fun could continue but were so exhausted that we were happy to get a rest. We were certainly lucky to go on such a fun trip with our grandparents! They're the best!


  1. He tried to sleep through Disney World so that in the future, when he says, "Let's go to Disney World!" And you say, "Been there, done that," he can protest that he slept through it.

  2. I'm surprised that Andrew was able to get the sword out at all. I thought it only came out during their Merlin show.

    1. He's the chosen one. :)

      Actually, we watched a little boy do it before we tried. I've even been searching for it online and all that I've found is what you said...that it happens during the Merlin show. Who knows...