Sunday, November 27, 2011

Life After the Mouse

We landed at Orlando Airport around 1 p.m. on Thanksgiving Thursday. We decided that Thanksgiving isn't going to be about food for us, so we picked up our rental car and ran over to the Swan Hotel. The Swan backs up to The Dolphin, The Boardwalk and the Yacht Club resorts, so there were a lot of choices for meals. 

We dumped our stuff and then headed to the Magic Kingdom and let X-man lead the way. And that's pretty much how we spent the day. We walked around the park and let him point to rides, wait in line and then grab a snack here and there. X-man has never been a big Winnie the Pooh fan, but he found that all these childhood favorites in the same area more than awesome. So he decided to skip the Pooh ride and instead, visit Mr. Sanderz' house. 

After riding my favorite ride (the Teacups, where the boys found my crazy giggling quite amusing) X-man and I went on the race cars. He was too short to drive according to the measuring pole at the front of the ride, but it looked like they weren't caring too much about who was driving when they got in the car. However, X-man is a bit of a rule follower, so when I offered it to him, he refused. But we had to stop and sit in the stands afterwards so he could practice being an announcer at the races. 

It was beautiful weather in Florida. It was in the 70s the whole time, but in the evening, a breeze would kick up and it got a bit chilly. On our way to pick up a sweatshirt for X-man, we stopped by Cinderella's castle all lit up in purple. The castle had all the Christmas lights on it, too.

Now wrapped up in a new Pluto fuzzy sweatshirt, we sat down on Main Street to watch the Electrical Parade. I had to tell X-man who 70 percent of the characters were (the major floats were for Pete's Dragon -- a movie he refuses to watch because of the Gogans -- as well as Alice in Wonderland and Pinnochio.) We also got a Mickey balloon for him. He was fascinated by the fact that it was a balloon inside a balloon. There was some whining over the fact that it wasn't an LED balloon. But he got over it -- quick. 

Here's Mickey on his train float. After the Electrical Parade, we got on the bus to go home and skipped the fireworks at 10 p.m. It was X-man's bedtime when the parade started (Central time), so he was totally wasted by the time the parade was over.

I'm really glad we didn't book a character breakfast or wait in line for the buffet at our hotel that has them  first come/first serve on the weekend. Because this was X-man's reaction to getting within 3 feet of one of the many green Toy Story guys hanging out in front of the Pixar part of Hollywood Studios. He didn't mind waving at them from a distance. But he did NOT want to get close to them. On Day 2, we spent the morning at Hollywood Studios doing Star Tours (Oh, the Loosey Giggle factor came into play here every time we jumped to light speed), watching the Jedi Training Academy (X would have been too scared of Darth Maul and Darth Vader to participate) and the Toy Story Mania ride (which is a newer better version than the Buzz one in Tomorrowland at the Magic Kingdom. We also ate lunch at the Sci Fi Dine in (which was a giant movie screen playing old promos for 1950s science fiction films  and short cartoons like Tom and Jerry) in a darkened room for lunch before we headed over to the Animal Kingdom. We spent the afternoon there and then ate lunch at the Rain Forest Café. I had never been to one, and unless you need a lot of loud noises to drown out your child's crying, I'd skip it.

X-man really enjoyed the two park areas within the parks. The first is the Honey, I Shrunk the Kids playground (where it is impossible to keep an eye on your kids without getting on your hands and knees and going through it with them) in Hollywood Studios. It's a great way to run off any steam or whininess that has built up from waiting in line for things (which is not often a favorite past time of small children). The other free play area is a Dinosaur playground in the Animal Kingdom next to the Dinoland, USA kiddie ride section.

My favorite part of this trip was that X-man and MacTroll got some quality time, even if it was on a bus ride or at the dinner table. MacTroll's been on the road a lot, and I think having four days with no computers and TV in the middle of Disney was really very good for both of them.

X-man balked at the hour that we were going to wait for the Safari Ride in the Animal Kingdom, but they really got us through in 25 minutes! My favorite was watching this giraffe chow down on the low branches.

For breakfast on Saturday, we went to Cat Cora's restaurant on the Boardwalk. X-man got his Mickey shaped waffle. I got my fruit bowl and tea and MacTroll had an excellent breakfast skillet.

Saturday we headed over to Sea World after breakfast. X-man was very excited about getting wet at the dolphin and whale shows. It used to be... 20 years ago... that the shows were just educational bits about the animals with some background music. This dolphin show had -- um -- a plot with character development and trapeze artists. It was totally bizarre.

But X-man totally dug it. 

 Sea World doesn't have very many rides, but X-man really liked the boat ride. They got pretty wet. I took photos next to the area where other visitors could put quarters into spray guns and squirt the boat as it came by. I tried to soak them... my quarter didn't freaking work!
X-man wanted to sit as close as possible at the Killer Whale show. But as MacTroll and I sat there and read the history of whale trainer deaths at Sea World over the last 15 years, we were kind of happy to sit farther back. But we were still in the "Soak Zone." After the incident in 2010, the trainers no longer get in the water with the animals in the shows. The regular show is called "One Ocean" which MacTroll would describe as a pandering attempt at ecological education.

We could also imagine that the conversation about the decision on high to keep the trainers out of the water went something like this, "You're not allowed in the water with the animals during shows."
"What are we gonna do then?"
"You're gonna dance."

And yeah, if you're wondering, scientists doing the white man shuffle to bad music is totally the reason they invested so much in four giant moving movie screens. It draws most of the focus away from the trainers and onto the screens or to the animals.
 Yes, were this far back from the orcas, and X-man left soaked. They bring out the giant whale who flips up her tail and goes NUTS splashing people.

And since he was already wet from the Orca show, when we hit Shamu's kids area and X-man saw the water playground, we told him to go for it. I ran off for lunch and then when I returned, X-man was complaining that Sea World people told him he had to wear shoes on the other rides. Um, what? Of course you do... MacTroll just shrugged.

But then the boys went to play on the pirate ship.

This is the GIANT rope climb with all kinds of crazy tunnels and tire swings and awesomeness that X-man spent a full hour going through with and without MacTroll. Around it were a lot of kiddie rides, but X-man spent most of his time in the free play area. 

And underneath the rope climb is the seal the deal reason why Quigs will never want to go to Sea World... giant sandbox... :-)

After Sea World, we headed to Downtown Disney and ate dinner at Fresh A-Peel and visited the Babycakes Vegan bakery between the TREX café and the Lego Store. X-man got a new Lego set and built himself three mini figures before he went out to the work tables and made a car. He entered in a race and won! Then I walked him down to Once Upon a Toy and he built a Light Saber for himself.

X-man found out that MacTroll's mother is going to Disney next week with some of her other grand children. He asked if he could go back with them. We told him he had to go to school, but I told him he'd go back sometime. He asked when. I told him to talk to his Papa. :-)

No comments: