Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Vacation, Part 1.

I have to break this down into two parts. Sure, it's because I have a lot of pictures but also because I'm kind of tired and I have some serious reading to do. (Like oh hey... I have 17 review due in the next month and I haven't started anything!)

But here is half of our trip. (OK, that's really a lie. It's the first two days. Apparently I can't upload any more pictures than this so Epcot/day 3 will happen tomorrow.)

 We flew out of the fancy new airport in Duluth. I don't know how they justify this expense when there were literally, only 30 people here. The entire two hours we were there. That must be a really boring job.
 Jackson was a little hesitant until Daddy told him that if our plane crashes, we might get to ride a giant jumpy slide. This made Jackson very excited. Even though I've never seen a plane with this deployed, usually everyone is just dead.
 And Olivia was all excited. Until I told her this was our short flight, we'd have a longer one later.
 Then we made it to Minneapolis where of course we got to run from one gate to the next and had 10 minutes to do it. Only one child (Olivia) slammed her face into the moving walkway. But, no time to cry because we had to run. Only to find out oh hey- the boards were incorrect and we really had an hour to kill. Fuck you, Delta. I ran in flip flops for NOTHING. So we ended up eating weird snacks on the floor and called it lunch.

Once we got to Orlando we found our way to the hotel. Which is a whole OTHER story and I'll include pictures of that fun stay on tomorrow's post. Suffice it to say it's $30/night quality lived up to expectations. At least there were no gunshots. I can't say that for hotel #2 though. (Aw.. you know that'll come on Monday. HA!)

The plan for the night was to go to Downtown Disney to eat and shop. Primarily to eat though at the new T-Rex restaurant which is basically exactly like the Rainforest Cafe except with dinosaurs. Same food, some ambiance, same over priced gift shop. Jackson was a little nervous, OK- he was kind of terrified, but he at least made it through dinner only grabbing my boob once.
 But Olivia totally loved it. And it was kind of different, and a fun way to kick off our vacation.
 No better way to kick off vacation than dropping almost $90 on over priced bar food. But we have to keep the robot dinosaurs employed.

So then we walked around. We went into pretty much every store, bought a few things, and the kids were kind of loving all of the photo op's.
 Olivia insisted on being with the Lego Friend in the store. (Side note: how touristy does my girl look? Love it.)
 Jackson was excited that he was almost as tall as Buzz Lightyear and then wondered why he isn't bigger.
 Jackson then thought these statues were things you could buy and asked if his $20 was enough. Olivia totally hamming it up.
 I was kind of losing Jackson at this point but Olivia would have shopped all night. We ended up going back to the hotel so we could all get up bright and fucking early to go to the happiest place on Earth.
 Oh yes. This mom thought FOR SURE if we got there 2 hours early we'd be ahead of the game and at the front of the line.


Try 2000th in line.
 Almost three hours later, and $400 lighter, we're IN.

Where almost immediately the kids want hats. Olivia picks hers out (you'll see that), Jackson picks this out. Do you think Jackson would wear it? No. Do you think my purse was large enough to hold it? No. Being the good dad that he is, Matt walked around wearing a youth Mickey ears hat looking like an asshole. But kind of adorable.
 We met Snow White almost immediately and Jackson was thrilled that she said he was cute enough to be a dwarf after he said his Grandma Cindi loves Snow White and Olivia said Snow White was her favorite.
 From there we started going on rides. We had big plans to do this park right and we were prepared to go the 9am-11pm park hours. I wore my most comfortable, and unattractive, outfit and thank god everyone wore their stupid sneakers like I insisted.
 Isn't Olivia's hat the fucking cutest? She wore it EVERY DAY on vacation.
 At this point? We are 4 hours into our day and my hair is flat. It was super tight curls. I don't know why I bothered doing anything at all.

Oh- lunch. Let me tell you about this. So, I have read on tons of message boards that character dining is THE thing to do if you want your kids to totally have a really special, memorable experience. I went online, saw ONE available spot at this buffet place on the day we'd be there right around lunch time and it says $15.99/person. Seems high, but I figure, it's Disney so it's marked up but this is still doable.
 This is us outside of the Crystal Palace, waiting for our table to be ready. While waiting, I see the menu so I kind of mosey over. Only to see the price? Is actually $28.99/person.


I go up and ask if that is the lunch price or dinner because it could be dinner. Nope, it's the lunch price.


I then say, "Oh wow- that's not what the website said. I guess we'll pass and find lunch elsewhere" because who the fuck is trying to pay that per person for LUNCH? Nobody with a brain.

She tells me, in her best southern belle accent, "Well- your credit card gets charged either way."

Oh yes, I had forgotten about having to reserve this lunch with a credit card. I suppose we'll eat here after all. Turns out, it's a terrible buffet. I literally ate some cucumbers, a bread stick, and 4 chicken nuggets. And a piece of pie.

But, characters came to our table.
 And here's the thing- my kids are so god damn adorable you can't help but love them. Do you see them totally love Winnie the Pooh?

Oh god- see the Asians behind them? OK- side story! There were two Asian guys, presumably partners, and they LOST THEIR SHIT over these characters. I'm talking, this guy you see back there? He CRIED when Pooh came. He talked to these characters as if they are real people who came just to see him. I didn't know whether to laugh or publicly mock the guy. Even Matt, who normally has no idea what is happening around him, was like, "Is this really happening? Did he just butt in line in front of children to give Pooh a bear hug??"


Yes, he did.
 Jackson loved Tigger a lot.
 Until Piglet came and then you thought he was reunited with his long lost relative. I had no idea he even liked Piglet. Apparently, I am not a mom in the know.
 So after shelling out almost $150 on a LUNCH (I cannot emphasize this enough), we got back on rides. We noticed it got a little cooler (and by that I mean it was 105 and was now 100) and a little cloudier. No big deal. Florida gets weird rain storms for a few minutes and then it's hot as ever, so I wasn't worried.
 Jackson went on a for real merry-go-round and pretended to be a cowboy.
 And Olivia got on it and for the first time EVER, she did not cry on the merry go round. I have many pictures of hysterical children on merry go rounds. My kids are adorable, but they are also dramatic. To say the least.
 We also rode tea cups and Daddy almost made us all puke.

But you'll notice these clouds? This was a sign of DOOM.
 It was kind of sprinkling at this point, so most rides were shut down because someone saw lighting and that's the alert to shut things down  until it passes over. So to stay dry and kill time, we got in the 2 hour line to see Minnie and Daisy.
I have a Daisy picture but I included this one because it's one of the few I got Jackson to wear his expensive fucking Mickey ears in.

Here's the thing about character photos. Just a little bit of etiquette for you. If you come up to the line, you get one picture. One picture and move it the fuck along. Instead, people are doing individuals, couples, then certain siblings together, then the whole family shot, oh now just mom wants her picture. Oh let's get mom and just the baby. People are treating it like a god damn family photo shoot. It's not. It's one and done, whores.

End rant.
 So once we got, not surprisingly, it is down pour. Like, our shoes and clothing are soaked through. We decide it's time to buy ponchos. Mostly so our clothes could dry because at this point? We still had six hours until the park closed. No way in HELL was I spending $400 on tickets and not seeing the god damn Electric Parade. The kids missed it last time, didn't get to see Tinkerbell come down and light the castle, nothing.

Oh, we will buy ponchos.

$40 later... and we're kitted with basically clear Hefty bags with hoods.
 And then Jackson fell asleep. So Matt had to hold him for the next 4 hours.
 While Jackson power napped.

But it was worth it, even though we didn't get to get on half of the rides, because folks? We saw the parade.
 Which was just as amazing as it was when I was a little kid.
 But the best part? Was that both kids turned to Matt and said, "See Dad? You can put Christmas lights on everything!!!"

Matt, not surprisingly, was not impressed.

I was actually exhausted by now but one character we hadn't gotten to see? Mickey. So I found a ridiculously nice employee who told me if I was smart, we'd skip the fireworks and run to the front entrance and see Mickey on our way out before the lines start. And I thought, we can see fireworks anytime- we can't see Mickey all of the time.

So off we went. The kids were only slightly bummed until I told them we were seeing Mickey and we wouldn't be rushed because wouldn't you know it, there was no line.
 And Jackson LOVED Mickey. Jackson's shirt said "Oh Buoy" and had a picture of seagull on it, and Mickey was trying to tell Jackson that he says that all of the time. Jackson thought he was the coolest kid ever that Mickey loved his shirt. And his hat. Olivia thought it was cool that she was meeting (as she put it), "an actual movie star."
Oh and then we took a family picture because they had time to kill and my boob almost popped out of my shirt.

So that was our day at Magic Kingdom. By the time we got back to our hotel is was midnight. We had been on the go that day, nonstop walking, for 16 hours. Oh, and I spent almost $100 in bottled water because holy shit it was hot.


Shannon @ Bungalow960 said...

I just love how thrilled the kids look in every. single. picture. This is making me rethink my stance on not taking my kids to Disney World ever.

Steff said...

Oh my goodness, I'm not sure if their smiles would make me be ok with taking my kids to DL, or if the story/cost would make me never take them!

cherylp said...

Whatever message boards you were reading gave you breakfast prices not lunch. BTW next time, any counter service can give you a free cup of Ice water.

CommunityMember said...

You can dish it out but can't take it? #truthhurts

BFIrrera said...

You bought 40 bottles of water in one day (10 each)? They cost $2.50 a bottle for Dasani. You could have refilled with FREE ice water at any counter service.

ALL the rides were shut down? I've never witnessed that. I could understand Splash Mountain and Tom Sawyer Island being closed, but Pirates, Haunted Mansion, Hall of Presidents, It's a Small World, etc are all indoor rides/attractions.

I'm still not sure if these blog entries are a parody or not.

Unknown said...

Who made you the character picture police? Many guests enjoy meeting with the characters and have fun using their imagination. Being taken back into childhood memories of some of your favorite cartoons. Most of the time the characters will go above and beyond to interact with you and your family and that can take up a little bit of time. Some of these guests it will be their one and only visit to Disney and if they get a great character interaction that helps build on strong memories of good times, whoa re you to judge and be nasty about it? I go all the time and my daughter is in love with Tinkerbell and on more than 1 occasion Tink has actually remembered my daughter. Usually that is the main thing my daughter will bring up when talking to other people about her Disney trips. How Tink will tell her how she remembered the time she work a blue scarf and helped Vidia make the storms go away and so forth. I never care when a family takes a little long with the characters. They are enjoying their magical moment that will be cherished for a lifetime instead of spewed into anti Disney blog posts such as this.