Thursday, July 04, 2013

Wednesday, June 26 (Disney World, day 1)

Before entering any of the parks we took security pictures of the kids so that we'd know exactly what they were wearing if they happened to get lost. Here's Rachel's security picture of the day:

She's standing in front of a tree draped in Spanish moss so that we could show it to Bumpa Bruce.

We were directed to park out in the boonies, in keeping with our tradition of parking as far away from the entrance as possible. Fortunately, Disney's goal is simply to make every body happy so they provided trams to shuttle patrons to and from the ticket booths. That was a great perk! It didn't matter if we parked near or far; everyone took the same shuttle to the parking lot. Sitting on a shuttle for an extra stop or two isn't nearly as difficult as hiking two miles to your car after you're bone-weary from walking around all day. It was also nice to not have to walk all the way there first thing in the morning!

Tickets are linked to your fingerprints now—at both parks. I thought that was a little...over zealous. I mean, I suppose that one could buy a two (or more) day pass at either park and then go for a day (or more) before swapping cards with a friend, but seriously, who does that? That's like worrying about voter fraud. I mean, I'm sure it happens...but not often. Either way, both Disney World and Universal Studios have a a copy of my finger prints. And for some reason weren't concerned what kids we were taking through because we didn't have to link the kids' cards to their prints. Whatever. 

After getting tickets you have to board either the ferry or the monorail to take you to the gates of Disney World itself. It's like a mile and a half away from the ticket booths or something, like a magical island. 

We took the ferry. Andrew was pretty sure if was a "fairy" ferry. It wasn't.

While we were in line for the ferry I discovered that Benjamin was poopy. Not only was he poopy but he was poopy-poopy. I changed his diaper and clothes, laying him down on the ferry deck to do it. He'd continue to poop like that throughout the day and ended up coming home in poopy clothes because I hadn't packed enough changes to deal with all the poopiness.

Here is a picture of me and Rachel on Main Street when we first arrived (Benjamin is nurse-napping under there):

Rachel caught her hair in her fan first thing in the morning the previous two days; it was very inconvenient and probably painful. She still didn't want me to do anything extravagant with her hair so I badgered her until she let me put it up in a bun. She topped it off with a hat.

She was really strutting her stuff through the Swiss Family Robinson tree house while Miriam whined about needing to go potty and how "this isn't even a ride." Rachel thought it would be pretty cool to have a treehouse, except that she's a little bit afraid of heights and it wouldn't really keep out jaguars and stuff. Also, both girls know much more about Tarzan than about Swiss Family Robinson.

We took a flight on some magic carpets before hitting Pirates of the Caribbean. I love that ride, but I think I might've loved it more before it was modified to fit the movie. It was still good...just too Jack Sparrow. Miriam covered her eyes through most of it—she didn't like the guns or swords or "any of the weapons." Rachel thought it was "mostly cool but a little bit scary." Anything that was dark and underground scared her—so the dungeon, the cannonball fight, the entire ride.

After that we used our fast passes for the Jungle Cruise. We love fast passes—they wait in line for you while you wait in line somewhere else; and they're free! At Universal you have to pay for "Universal Express" privileges, which we thought was lame.

The Jungle Cruise wasn't lame though, except for the jokes (but we knew it would be that way going into it). Rachel just about died of a panic attack when we went through the ancient Mayan temple that had been destroyed by an earthquake. It was dark. And undergroundish. But she liked the rest of the ride. Poor Grandpa was just about done-in by it though. Benjamin spent the ride pooping. (Did I say "ride?" I meant day.)

After that we sent Andrew off to collect more fast passes while we waited in line for the Tiki Room. The kids loved the birds and were spooked by the tikis. Miriam was especially charmed by the "girls" and couldn't decide which one she wanted to be. She also thought the thunderstorm was real.

They had real water at this Tiki Room. The first time I went to the Tiki Room was at Disneyland thirteen years ago and I think that the thunderstorm didn't actually use real water. I think they had plastic streamer things that shimmered with the light and just looked like rain. I kind of miss that kind of creativity from Disney.

Their new rides are too flashy, too perfect, too real. The Ariel ride is literally like riding through the movie—everything looks perfectly like the animation. All the "puppets" are just plastic bits waving around on mechanical arms. Ursula's tentacles wiggled but you couldn't see the mechanics behind it; it looked just like she was animated only it was 3-D in front of your face. It was a fine ride, but it wasn't charming (except maybe for the part where you drop under the sea; that was pretty neat).

The Haunted Mansion and It's a Small World, though, are simply darling. The dolls in It's a Small World might not be entirely hand-crafted but you can see that their hair is made of yarn and pipe-cleaners. In the Haunted Mansion when a head pops out of a grave you can see the spring it's on. I suppose those rides (Pirates and E.T. and so forth) are a little hokier but I love them.

The girls hated the Haunted Mansion and never want to go on it ever again. Rachel said it was "mostly scary but a little bit cool." Miriam covered her eyes for most of the ride.

Benjamin wasn't bothered by it at all; rather, he was lulled to sleep.

The poor boy slept through most of It's A Small World, too. Andrew had never been on that ride—can you believe it? My Auntie Arlene basically forced David and I to go on it the first time we went to Disneyland with her. She sat down to save us a spot for the parade and sent us to get in line, ignoring our protests.

"I always make everyone go on It's A Small World every time we come to Disneyland. You can't come to Disneyland and not go on it. It's a classic!" she told us.

We pointed out that she wouldn't be going on the ride but she said that didn't matter because she's gone to Disneyland so many times before. So my brother and I went on It's A Small World. But we were cool enough to think it was lame.

I went on it when I went to Disneyland for drama tour as well. But I can't remember if I went on it when I went to Disneyland with my mom and Josie and my friend Annik. Most of what I remember is Josie walking behind me and punching me in the back the entire day. So I try not to think about that trip too often because as much as I love Josie, just thinking about that day makes me want to punch her in the back or something.

So out of three trips to Disneyland (within a five year time span—seriously. I go my whole childhood moaning about never being able to go to Disneyland and then I go three times within five years?!) I went on It's a Small World at least two (but probably three) times.

Andrew, however, was so cool as a teenager that he managed to skip it altogether however many times he'd been to Disneyland (twice with family and twice with high school, he tells me). This was his first time on that ride ever!

He thought it was pretty cool, now that he's a mature adult instead of a too-cool teenager. And I'm super glad he got to go on the one at Disney World because apparently the one at Disneyland has been revamped to include Disney characters in their respective countries. I'm kind of torn over this. I like the old, slightly creepy puppets. How dare they replace them with fancy plastic replicas of cartoon characgters?!

Miriam loved It's a Small World. She kept pointing at dolls, trying to decide who she wanted to be (which is totally how I spent my childhood as well). By the end of the ride both girls were singing along and Benjamin had woken up and was pointing and "boofing" at everything.

When the ride was over, we tried to have lunch at Belle's castle (or Beast's castle; whichever it is) but they wouldn't even let us back there because lunch was "over" and we didn't have a reservation for dinner. So we went to Pinocchio's instead; it sits overlooking It's a Small World and has stained glass windows between booths. Benjamin was playing a game with a little boy on the other side of this glass while we waited for our food. It was pretty funny.

Just outside the doors of Pinocchio's was the most beautiful sight Miriam had ever seen in her life: the carousel.

This girl adores carousels. And so does this boy, who also adores being squirted in the face with Grandma's mist fan:

We all had fun on the carousel, except for Andrew, who apparently had no fun at all...

Just kidding! He had fun, too. I don't know why he looks so surly in that first picture. 

Here are a few pictures of Benjamin enjoying his spin:

And my sweet girls:

And Andrew having so much fun:

The night before Miriam had prayed that we would find a carousel at Disney World. Kids pray for the funniest things sometimes. But look how happy the carousel makes her!

Here she is trying to pull out the sword in the..anvil. There's got to be a trick to pulling it out because we saw a kid do it and then Andrew did it once, but we couldn't figure out what the trick is!

After the carousel we went on the Ariel ride. Rachel was once again nervous to be underground but she made it through it and enjoyed the ride. We split up after that and while Benjamin, Miriam, and Grandma and Grandpa did who knows what, Andrew and I took Rachel on Splash Mountain.

She knew about the splash on the end and was reluctant to go on it because of the splashing rides she went on at Universal Studios but we were able to convince her that Splash Mountain was tame compared to Jurassic Park or Dudley Do-Right. She spent a lot of time anticipating the drop and got really worried when we went into the darkest part, where the ride happened to be momentarily delayed (of course), but in the end she loved it and even wanted to do it again (though we weren't able to fit it in due to line length (and because the ride broke down the next day)).

Here we all are, being so brave...

We stopped at a "kodak moment" place (they have them throughout the park—just ideas of where to get a good shot...I think) to take some pictures with Cinderella's castle behind us (even though we thought it was Sleeping Beauty's castle (but it's not because her castle is at Disneyland)).

As luck would have it, a show was starting in front of the castle right at that moment. It had been playing at various times throughout the day but we didn't ever stop to watch it because our timing had always been off. But this time our timing was perfect and Rachel was so anxious to watch it, so she and I found a great spot, right up close, and settled in to watch the show (with her riding piggyback so that she could see; it was totally comfortable (not)) while Andrew ran off to find his parents and tell them where we were and what we were doing (because your parents should always know where you are, what you're doing (and also who you're with (but they already knew that part))).

Grandma found a different spot to watch the show with Miriam while the boys hung out on a nearby bridge.

Both of our girls loved the show. They'd both been dying to meet some characters but I don't have the patience to stand in line for over an hour to do stuff like that, so I told them that this show counted as meeting the princesses and Minnie and Mickey. And they were cool with that. Thank goodness.

They were thrilled when Peter Pan and Wendy came on stage. Ever since doing that show for ballet they've had an increased interest in that story.

See those thick, fluffy, lovely clouds in the sky? Those were our saving grace every afternoon. We were actually quite lucky weatherwise. It only sprinkled on us a couple of times on our park days (though it did pour on us at the Space Center) which served only to cool things off while not making us completely wet and miserable.

We enjoyed going through Winnie the Pooh's ride. I loved the words in the book that were melting off the page. That was probably my favourite part of the entire ride. 

We also hit up the tea cups. I don't like spinning, so Andrew, Benjamin, and I went in one cup and didn't spin (other than the big spinning).

The girls rode with Grandma and they spun a lot:

The tea cups turned Benjamin into a monster...but I think he liked the ride.

After that we went to Dumbo (which is where Miriam went with Grandma and Grandpa while the rest of us did Splash Mountain). They're trying out a new "line" where they hand you a buzzer when you get to a certain place in line and then you enter a playhouse with benches for the grown ups and a little "circus" for the kids to run around in while you wait. Then when your buzzer buzzes (because what else is a buzzer going to do? Ring? Vibrate?) it's your turn to get back in line for the ride.

It made the wait much pleasanter and not like waiting at all.

They even have the play area divided, with an area for bigger kids and an area for little kids (3 and under). We told the girls to stick together and go off to play but when Miriam went into the little kid arena, Rachel came over to us and told us she had a dilemma. She didn't know which rule to follow, you see?

"You told us to stick together, but Miriam went into the middle and it says only kids three and under can go in there and I'm older than three and I just don't know what to do!" she wailed.

We told her she could just go play because whoever designed that play space was a genius. We could see the entire thing from our bench so the rule of "sticking together" was less necessary than, say, at Curious George's splash pad (where our children't didn't stick together and where we often lost sight of them).

The kids were so excited to ride the Dumbo ride. I'm not sure why it's so popular—there are actually two Dumbo rides right beside each other. It's just the same as the magic carpet ride, which isn't as popular. I guess elephants are cuter than carpets. Maybe? I know some people who would probably disagree with that statement.

Disney World allows lap-riding, which is wonderful, even though Benjamin ended up sitting between me and Miriam (at her request) he was more than welcome to sit on my lap. He did a lot of lap-riding at Disney World, actually, and went on almost all the rides (unlike at Universal Studios where there is no lap riding and he only went on a couple of rides).

We went on the Barnstormer after Dumbo and decided that would be our last right for the day. The girls loved it, except that Miriam bonked her head and Rachel bonked her back. I understand how Miriam bonks her head because she's just at the right height to do that, but I don't understand how Rachel keeps bonking her back; she must not be sitting properly or something.

After the roller coaster the girls enjoyed playing around Casey Jr's play zone while Benjamin nursed. They found some elephant tracks and tried them out for size and showed impeccable restraint when I asked them not to play in the fountains.

On our way back to the van, we took a sneak peek at the new ride being constructed. I think it's going to have something to do with Snow White but mostly it just looked like a construction site. Also, you have no idea how brave Rachel was to stand by this mine.

I can't remember what ride it was for...but we were definitely with Grandma and Rachel was getting nervous because we were underground in a cave-like area. Oh! It was on E.T. And as we were leaving the forest we came to a mine area, complete with mine shafts and so forth and I said, "Uh-oh! Looks like we'll be going into a mine."

And Rachel said, "What mine? There's a mine?!" She completely flipped out.

"No. Not a mine. Just mine. Mine. Mine. Mine," I said, mimicking the seagulls from Finding Nemo and holding up my little card (the one programed with my name that E.T. would later say).

She fell for it and calmed down, only to get nervous again when she realized all on her own that we were in a mine...

Anyway, where were we? On our way back to the car, right? And we were seeing things? Right.

We walked through Cinderella's castle and that's how we learned it was Cinderella's castle.

"Do you want to walk through Sleeping Beauty's castle?" we asked the girls, and they, of course, said that they did, so we did.

"Oh, look at the pretty mosaics," we said, so they did and we did and then we realized that every single pannel of the mosaic featured Cinderella, which seemed odd since we were in Sleeping Beauty's castle. It was about at that moment when we realized the castle belonged to Cinderella.

We stopped at the main entrance to get the obligatory "picture in front of the flower Mickey head" before boarding the monorail to catch the tram to the parking lot.

In the parking lot we walked down three different aisles to get to our car, not because we forgot where it was but because we were playing the license plate game and we had everything east of the Mississippi except for Vermont. Andrew found a Vermont license plate on his aisle and we totally counted it because that was the only Vermont plate we saw our entire trip.

Once home, we got all jammed off and tucked into bed for snuggles and reading time.

Rachel is a reading machine.

And one last picture just because I love it so much...

Benjamin somehow managed to get one of his two front teeth isolated between his lips. The other one is tucked away. I think it's hilarious.

I also think I'm about as tired now as I was last Wednesday night at approximately this time, only tomorrow instead of waking up and spending the day at Disney World (which is such a burden) it's a national holiday and so I should be allowed to sleep in and be lazy...right? Or is that dream dead now that Grandma's gone home and the girls have no one else to wake up in the morning?

1 comment:

  1. Remember the time I lost the kids at the dunes. When they asked what they were wearing I pulled the camera out and they just did the report using that :) Seems like a fun trip!