Monday, June 23, 2014

Disney: we survived!

Wow -- putting together this post has been so overwhelming because I have so many pictures between our cameras and the Memory Maker that I have to try not to use too many.  I also want to try to keep them in some kind of order because I can't stand a big jumble of photos that are in no kind of order.  I tried to keep pictures from each park together.

A few days ago while I was first looking through these pictures, Tim looked over my shoulder and said to me, "If I didn't know any better, these pictures make it look like we had fun."  Ha!  When I decided to add the Memory Maker to our account for $150, I figured Disney would be high tech about taking pictures of us all the time, maybe follow us around with camera drones or something.  But it turned out that if we weren't on a ride, for the most part we had to seek out the picture people and pose for the pictures.  Sometimes we would just walk by if there was a line of other people waiting.  It might have been for the best.  If most of the shots had been candid, they would have been us standing or sitting around with hangdog expressions on our face.  Or with a finger jabbed in the kids' faces as we threatened them with taking them back to the room if they didn't knockitoff right now!

So .. Disney was intense.  It was way too much for an introvert like me.  Even just being in the cafeteria of our resort was sensory overload.  The crowds of people were what I dreaded most, and they were everywhere.  It was sweltering hot too.  But we will call it a success because it was well organized with the help of our wonderful Disney planner, and we all got to do some fun things and eat some good meals.  I got to ride three roller coasters, and I can't even remember the last time I rode a roller coaster.  Space Mountain was my favorite overall because it was in the dark, and not being able to see where we were going added a little extra thrill.  Rock 'n Roller Coaster was a close second.  Tim and I had Fast Passes to those and to Expedition Everest.  Just being able to walk away by ourselves was a good part of the fun.  The kids got kind of moody and restless in between things (and most of our time at Disney, let's face it, is in between one thing or another). Timmy was the worst of all.  This trip brought out the most horrendous side of him, I have to say.  We spent one entire evening with him just having tantrums in the room, not even leaving for dinner.  (The girls got to have dinner with their Grandma and Auntie, lest you thought we made the girls go hungry on account of Timmy.) Very bad, very sad.

For the kids there were many photo ops with princesses and other characters.  I think Timmy liked that part best, hugs and high-fives with people in costumes.  And he was a little flirt with the princesses.  If I had to guess Delaney's favorite thing, it would definitely be Animal Kingdom.  She's such an animal lover, and I could tell how much she enjoyed the safari and the nature tour, and being up close to so many kinds of creatures.  They also gave the kids some kind of book that they could collect "badges" (stickers) in after learning about different kinds of animals, and it was something fun for her and Annie to focus on, collecting all those stickers.  Delaney was also excited to participate in the discussions and answer questions.  I liked that even though there were hordes of people around, she and her brother and sister got so much individual attention.  As for Annie, I'm not sure what her favorite part was.  I'd have to ask her.  Maybe just swimming at the resort pool?  She also wasn't much for the crowds and the heat.  But really, who is?  Everywhere we looked we saw parents trying to placate exhausted and hot kids.  I felt so bad for the screaming infants.  Why would anyone do that to a baby?  Or to themselves?  I myself could only handle so much, and on one or two mornings I was allowed to have a late start, or a pass to take Timmy and hop on the next "ketchup bus" back to the resort.  Timmy named the shuttles "ketchup buses" on day one, and I thought it was more fun to call them that.  They have Disney written across them in red, and I guess that reminded him of a ketchup bottle.

Delaney and Annie loved Test Track, Soarin', the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, and Splash Mountain.  Tim took Delaney on Tower of Terror, and she hated every minute of that.  I felt bad because I gave her my Fast Pass for that, thinking she would really have fun with her dad.  Oh well.  They all got to ride little kid rides like the teacups and the Merry Go Round, and they liked that.  There were a lot of little shows here and there that we all enjoyed, especially if they took place out of the sun.  The Beauty and the Beast one and the one with Crush the Turtle were my favorites.  They all loved the electric parade and fireworks at Magic Kingdom.  It was pretty spectacular, but there was so much waiting in between all of it, and so much just getting from place to place.  Tim, Carolyn, Karen and the girls all went right after dinner and secured a good spot for the parade and waited there for 2 hours.  I was amazed at how well the girls did, and grateful that at least Timmy and I didn't need to be there that whole time.  By the time the fireworks started, after a lengthy light show on the side of the castle and a notice over the loudspeaker that it would start in 10 minutes, I was just done.  This stuff is for other people.  Plus, I was holding Timmy all that time because it was way past his bedtime.  He's a big, heavy baby after 8 p.m. and I longed for my Ergo to put him in before I remembered how much more I would sweat with him in it.  We didn't bring the stroller we'd rented because it would have been too inconvenient getting it to and from the park with all the extra big crowds.

Tim's mom and sister flew down and joined us last Saturday, and we spent four full days there.  Day 1 was Epcot, Day 2 was Magic Kingdom, Day 3 was Hollywood Studios during the day and Magic Kingdom at night, and day 4 was Animal Kingdom.  We had adjoining rooms at Pop Century and that worked out really well.  I worried about staying at the "value" resort that's less like a resort and more like a motel.  But Tim's mom and sisters had stayed there and they liked it a lot, and it was very nice.  It had a big pool too.  The bus rides could be kind of long, but mysteriously they could be lightning fast too.  For example, when we rode to Magic Kingdom in the evening on day 3, it took less than 10 minutes to get there.  Coming back to the resort  that night took about a half hour.  Why that is, I don't know.  Another passenger suggested that sometimes they use different routes to avoid traffic.  Timmy and I had a knack for perfect timing too.  The buses came every 20 minutes, and we almost always showed up right as a bus was ready to go.

Tim and I were fond of saying "never again" the entire time we were there.  But I won't say never, period.  Definitely never to Disney in summer.  And never to Disney with a kid 3 or under.  And then maybe at some point in this lifetime I could be persuaded to go.  But it will be a long while.
So. Hot!
Splash Mountain
The planner, Nanci, posted this little collage on the Moments of Magic Travel Facebook page.  

Mr. Incredible trying to get Timmy to dance
Hollywood Studios
Grandma got them new shades while we waited to get in to Hollywood Studios.
Rock 'n Roller Coaster.  Tim and I agree that the first 10 seconds of this ride were better than the whole rest of it.  All the roller coasters at Disney seem tohold back from being REALLY scary.  They are kind of tame.  Not one has a good long, stomach-in-your-throat drop.
Tower of Terror -- Can you see Delaney in the second row frozen in fear?  Tim said you actually couldn't see anything on this ride.  You just sat in the dark going up, up, up, and you had no idea when you'd be dropped.  Yikes!  I probably would have liked it.
In front of the Tusker House at Animal Kingdom.  I loved the food and went back to the buffet at least three times.
Timmy was so excited to see Mickey.
Safari ride
I think this picture was from lunch at Epcot.  The kids got to meet all the princesses here.


  1. So glad you guys got to Disney and kind of enjoy it! I agree - it can be overwhelming and I'm impressed that you did so many parks! We basically stuck to Magic Kingdom and did part of the day at Animal Kingdom so we wouldn't totally overwhelm the kids. But.... we love Disney and want to go back several times, so we reasoned we could go slower! Also, super jealous you got to do the new Mystery Mine ride and Splash Mountain - both were closed when we were there!

    1. Hmm.. I had thought we were making ourselves a lighter itinerary, but maybe we did try to do too much with going to all those parks. I would say we at least could have done without Epcot, but everybody did love Soarin' and Test Track so much. You know, this makes me look forward to just taking them to an amusement park that isn't such a HUGE tourist attraction for the entire country. We all love rides and it would be fun to just spend a whole day doing that. Maybe one of these days.