|Kayla enjoys hippotherapy.|
The drive to the park is a total build up. First it's all the directional signs. then you see a dramatic entrance. Then you parallel the monorail for a bit. By the time you get to the parking lot the kids can't contain themselves. Again, Carr Matey proves useless because the accessible parking is so well placed at the entrance. So glad that was a free app. As you approach the entrance, you have to decide - ferry boat or monorail? These are the options you have to get from the car to the park. I have to wonder what the evacuation plan is, because this could be quite a bottleneck. We chose ferry boat and I hummed "Don't Pay the Ferry Man" the whole way. Curse you Chris de Burg!
The entrance is a bit overwhelming to me. I had to actually pay attention to where we needed to go, where other places that attract crowds sort of guide you with no real thought required. No biggie, we got in.
At this point, it's just a little after 10:00, so we aren't terribly late getting started. I figure we won't have any trouble getting home in time for our 9:00 tuck-in appointment with Ms. Merry. But wait! Gina wants to see the fireworks!
"But they start at 9:00 dear."
Main Street is really impressive. It is gorgeously designed and built. As we staggered along, awed by the castle, a cast member asked us to step up onto the sidewalk so they would have room for a show. I don't know how they do it, but they always seem to set the show schedule for our arrival. We watched a song and dance routine that would have fit the Mary Poppins idiom, then moved on.
I had read about the Bibbidy Bobbedy Boutique. Located in the Castle, girls can go here and get all Princessed up. Like Extreme Makeover: Princess Edition. Bound to be a popular activity, and expensive to boot, I just wanted to see it and get the info. As it turned out, they did not book up 6 months in advance! They had a slew of openings, and offered us one for 11:20. Pricing is a wee bit steep, but dammit, this is Kayla and she's a princess.
Now here's the problem. We have budgeted just so much money for each day in the parks, and this was going to take more than 1/4th of that before we'd even been here an hour. So it's Kayla only, Emily will have to be happy for her. Cue tears! Cue crying jag! I'm a bad, bad man, I know. But with the proven potential for a $90 lunch buffet on my mind, I can't risk blowing all the food money on a hairdo that won't survive the day.
While we wait for the appointment, we decide to ride the Carousel, Snow White and Dumbo, maybe hang out a bit without straying too far. This is why I had no interest in Advance Dinner Reservations - I hate being late and we would waste the entire day trying to not be late for dinner, thus missing some great spontaneous joys.
The really neat thing about the character meet and greet sites is that if you don't look for them on the map, you will just stumble across them. This makes for a very pleasant surprise when you happen to notice that right there is someone you'd like to meet! Mary Poppins and Bert were practically waiting for us at the Carousel. We had met Mary Poppins at GKTW earlier, but not Bert. Emily was still upset about the hair thing, and cowered behind me, but Mary Poppins coaxed her out in no time and got hugs and smiles. Em didn't even notice when I backed away. Bert took a few minutes to teach Jason how to stand like a penguin, and - say it with me now - Kayla slept through it!
Now it's 11:18 and we are about a minute and a half away from the B. B. Boutique. I'm getting worried we'll be late. Quick! To the Princess Mobile! We make it back to the boutique with seconds to spare, but now Emily is crying again because she doesn't get to be pretty and wear a dress. It doesn't matter that Kayla won't get the dress either, she likes pretty dresses. The price list for this thing includes an option for the full monty - hair, nails, makeup, dress, shoes and I think they mentioned modeling contract. $200. We saw one family do that for 3 daughters. Now they are $600 lighter and their kids had to spend the rest of the day in formal gowns and new shoes. In this heat? With this much walking? I'm calling Child Protective Services. But I digress.......
After a few minutes, it's Kayla's turn. The AC hasn't woken her up yet, and Emily is still crying. I settle into the chair with Kayla in my lap, and our Fairy Godmother In Training (FGIT, pronounced "Fidget") Jenny gets busy fixing her up. Jason is taking an interest in helping out with the reaching of tools and supplies, although he eventually strikes up a conversation with a girl who appears to be about 4. Cradle robber, she's half your age.
While Kayla is sleeping through her hair appointment, another FGIT sees Emily's pouts and checks in on her. After a bit of conversation, there is some smiling and activity from her direction. She's happy again, Jason's hitting on royalty and Gina is snapping photos faster than the PhotoPass photog. The girl in the seat next to me finishes up, and then they put Emily in her place. Whaaa? Gina smiles at me and it looks like she's crying now. WTF??
FGIT Sue had talked to Emily and discovered that Kayla got the treatment, but she didn't. Gina explained the budget and why Kayla was the "chosen one" for this event. Sue sprinkled some pixie dust and now Wanda is fixing up Emily, free of charge. Soooooo cool. She's all smiles; in fact, we all are.
Kayla's hair gets finished with her brother doing the final glitter application, and then they put HIM in her seat!
Jenny spikes his hair - his favorite style - applies some red and green color, then tosses in some shiny confetti. All three kids get dandied up for the price of one. Today's Wish Magic: making an entire family smile!
|Kayla enjoys doing Elton John impressions.|
After playing on some more of the traditional rides here, we headed over to Liberty Square. I rode Haunted Mansion with Kayla while Gina, Jason and Emily sat outside the exit. Then Gina rode Haunted Mansion with Kayla while I sat outside with Jason and Emily. Kayla slept through it.
Here's where a little more homework would have served us well. The park map gave me the impression we could board the Liberty Square Riverboat and ride it to Tom Sawyer Island. Eventually, we came back to the same spot we started and I realized we had been on an actual attraction. I wish I'd caught that earlier, as we wouldn't have bothered.
After lunch at Peco Bill's place (Kayla woke up!!), we hopped on the Disney World Train. This is a live steam engine with an oil fired boiler. I love this thing. I took so many pictures, the engineer got self-conscious. The ride itself is just a train ride, but that engine is gorgeous. Apparently, they have 4 running at once making the circuit around the park. No one but me wanted to try and ride all 4.
The train put us in Toon Town. There really isn't much here for anyone older than toddlers I think. Emily loved Goofy's barstormer, but Kayla was asleep and Jason refused. We strolled through Micky's house and got to say "Hi! to him and Minnie again, then checked out Minnie's house. It seems odd to me that we are encouraged to enter a home known to be unattended, and allowed to sit on the furniture, check out the fridge, stroll through the garden.... I didn't see what was in her medicine cabinet though. No bathroom.
The Toontown Hall of Fame is a huge gift shop, and at first I thought that was it. Then I noticed that you could go meet Princesses and Fairies!
|Tink tells us all to sleep like Kayla. Kayla slept through it.|
We got hooked up for that one and met Rosetta, Tinkerbelle, Vidia, Cinderella, Beauty (Belle? What is her real name in the movie?), and Sleeping Beauty. Very nice, and Rosetta insisted that Jason was wrong about her berryjuicer being called a pen. She shut him down well. He said it's a pen because it uses ink. She said it's blue ink - blueberries! He doesn't know how ink is made so he had no further arguments!
Kayla was beginning to stir a bit by this point, and may actually have had her eyes open for a few pictures.
From here we found our way to Tomorrow Land. the Speedway was an instant hit and Kayla enjoyed the shaking caused by the quasi-steering and the rough-idling engine. This is where we spent the rest of the day. The Laugh Floor, Buzz Lightyear, Carousel of Progress nicely updated with a flat-screen TV and virtual reality games. We got on the people mover AKA Tomorrow Land Transit Authority and it started to rain. As we came around to the exit, they gave us the option to stay on and go around again. Since we didn't want to get soaked again, this was an easy "Yes, please." The other people on our train changed out and we went around with a couple in the back. Just as we got to the Buzz Lightyear section, the "ride that never stops", stopped. Three times. We didn't mind much since we were still out of the rain, had a nice breeze and no where to be. But the lady behind us.... was drunk. And not happy about the delay. And decided (loudly) it was because they stopped to let some handicapped guy on or off. Oh well, no one is perfect and I know I've been worse.
Dinner at Cosmic Ray's led to an effort to meet Tiana back over in Liberty Square behind the Christmas Store. On the way we got detoured around Fantasy Land because they were setting up the fireworks. this was a good thing, because we had forgotten about The Many Adventures of Winnie The Pooh. You can't skip this one with a five year old or you'll go straight to hell in a honeypot. She liked it, Jason liked it, Kayla thinks she's hallucinating hephalumps and woozles. Gina and I both thought it ran a lot faster than we remember it. The difference may be in scale though, since we are both a bit bigger now.
|Always use a tripod for night shots.|
We made it to Liberty Square to see Tiana, but just missed her. The Disney Magic is not fool proof. On the other hand, we were in a good position to see the fireworks and do some shopping! And as an added bonus, Gina and I both got hit by the plastic dome off one of the fireworks! It got me on the head before hitting her on the leg. No big deal at all, but very unusual for me. Nothing that would make me rich in the hands of a personal injury lawyer.
I thought Main Street looked good in the morning, but it is amazing at night. Visually, this is probably my favorite part of the Magic Kingdom. Of course, I can't take any kind of decent picture of it though. PhotoPass to the rescue I hope.
Today was the longest day out we've had, and I think Gina and I both have some blisters to coddle. Tomorrow will be an easy, short day with a drive out to Daytona Beach. It's time to show the kids the ocean and bore them with old stories from my younger days there.
The Swag Fairy delivered again today! We now have Pictureka to keep us entertained. I haven't played this before, so it will be a learning experience for me.
I'm really proud of Emily this week. At home she doesn't like to walk far, will ask to be carried, is often seen riding on Kayla's lap. I have seen no evidence of that yet, and we've done more walking in the last 3 days than ever before in her life. And in the heat, too.
Jason is clearly tired. He doesn't get to his normal active level until late in the afternoon when the rain has cooled things off.
Despite my joking, Kayla is sleepier than normal. We've been stress-dosing her with her hydrocortizone and I've been making her formula with Gatorade in place of the water, but the heat and stimulation are just too much for her I think. I'm not worried about her health, but wish maybe we had come when it was a bit cooler.
It is now 2:42 on Thursday, so I'll post this with no editing. I'll clean it up later when we can enhance it with the PhotoPass images.