Monday, March 30, 2009

December 2005 Trip Report, Day 2: Timing is Everything!

The previous night I set a wake-up call for 6:50.



(I'm up)




(I'm waiting to see if Aaron will answer it)




(Wifey: It's the phone, you mo-ron)
















Wifey (looking directly at me): dumbass.



Thus begins our first morning at Walt Disney World.




We had all bathed the night before, and Sheri, being the more organized of the two of us, had the bag packed and the stroller ready. We just had to get dressed and get moving. I looked over the touring plan for the 17,432nd time and put it in my pocket. Aaron was thrown in the stroller, and we were off to the Food Court for breakfast. I pulled out my mace fully expecting a mob scene there, and it was a ghost town.




I remember reading about the Mickey waffles and how good they were, so I decided to try one for myself. Sheri went for the platter and skipped the eggs. Aaron got the kid's Mickey waffle with strawberries. Aaron was 2, so he could eat for free at the buffets, and we planned to share our stuff with him elsewhere. We didn't purchase the dining plan for him. Since the waffles for him were pretty inexpensive, we decided just to pay for his (besides, we were hungry, darn it!). I didn't even look at the receipt showing how many counter service credits we had remaining.


The cursing of the day goes to Delswife (Robin), who let me in on this little secret! I absolutely loved that malted enriched flour waffle shaped like the head of Mickey Mouse. Not only did it taste great, I got all the carbs I'll need for the next two weeks from that meal alone! Sheri did find some sugar-free syrup, so I rationalized that I wouldn't gain 60 pounds on the spot. I secretly knew that this would not be the last time I'd be eating one of these. Aaron got a kick out of chomping on Mickey's ears (filled with strawberries).


Now, the timing on just about everything yesterday was pretty much perfect, so I prepare myself mentally for long waits…besides, we're going to the Magic Kingdom on a Saturday. We get in line for the MK bus, and about 30 seconds later, up rolls a bus for us. We hop on and are surprised to see so many seats open.


I've prepped Aaron that we FINALLY get to see Cinderella's Castle today. This kid is almost as obsessive about things as I am. When Disney started promoting the release of Cindy's DVD, that's just about all he would talk about for weeks. I actually went out with him and got it the day it came out. As luck would have it, I saw three of my current students at WalMart and told them I was getting that movie for him. That drew a few puzzled looks from them. Hey…he's only 2, and she is pretty hot.


Anyway, he wants to meet Cinderella. We have ADRs for the Royal Table for supper that night, and I think Sheri was looking forward to eating in the castle more than anything else this vacation. As we drive past the Contemporary Resort, Aaron asks if that is her castle…you can't fault his curiosity!


Then he saw his first monorail.


Cinderelly momentarily took the back burner.


"I wanna ride the white train!" We will, son…in time, we will.


We got to MK at about 8:35, went through the bag check and had a nice conversation with the woman doing those duties (there was nobody behind us so we felt okay talking for a minute). Got through the gates, and there really weren't that many people waiting to get in. 13 minutes before the park opening ceremony (according to Steve Soares' site), so we decided to get the family pic by the Mickey floral. We waited for a couple of families to get their pics done, and we asked a young pair of Asian guys to take our pic.


Here's what we got:


 they took a practice shot. They did take a family shot of us (in their defense). We then put Aaron up there for a solo shot and got this:


As we were putting the camera away, the next family came up and asked if I could take their picture. SURE! So I snapped away 3-4 shots of various poses. They leave, and another family hands me their camera, and I start taking more pics. I've got Madonna's Vogue going through my head now. I thought about trying the "YOU'RE IN THE PICTURE" routine that I saw on the planning video where 9 sets of complete strangers end up in the same picture, but I didn't want to tick off anyone who was waiting for their turn.


My duties as Photo Guy done, we wait for a few more minutes, and the music starts to play. I get all excited and put Aaron up on my shoulders.


"Ladies and Gentlemen, in just 5 minutes…"


Sorry, bud…false alarm. None of us has ever seen the opening ceremony…I didn't know!


We wait for the real start, and I thrown Aaron up on my shoulders again so he can see.


He heard the train and started bouncing on my shoulders. Next to Cinderelly, his biggest obsession is trains. The train enters (not sure which one it was), and he FINALLY gets to see Mickey:



It ends, and off we go to Main Street U.S.A.! WAIT!!! We have to dodge a sea of folks trying to get to stroller rental. Sheri looks at me and exclaims that she is SOOOOO glad we brought our own stroller. Then we pause a moment to look around, and I really couldn't speak for a minute. Being on Main Street for only the second time in my life was surreal, but now I was with my wife and older son, AND it was all decorated for Christmas.


We head down Main Street, and we finally arrive at the moment where Aaron can see his girlfriend's castle! Sheri has the camera ready...we turn the corner by the Confectionary...


...and Aaron is simply awestruck by what he sees:

a guy holding about 100 balloons.

Ummm...kid...look beyond the balloon guy. Hello? Aaron?



Then he finally saw it.



We turn the tables on those Photopass folks…instead of them hunting us down, I hunted one of them down!


MUSH'S NOTE: Being that this trip report is over three years old, giving you the link for the Photopass site would seem kind of pointless.



We go through the Castle (Aaron was looking straight up and smiling at this) and started the plan. We got in line for Dumbo, and it starts raining. Not hard, but still a little wet. One cycle, and we rode Dumbo. In no particular order (I don't want to divulge proprietary info from the pay-side portion of Sehlinger's Unofficial Guide website), we either walked on or had less than a 3 minute wait for the Tea Cups, Winnie the Pooh, the Carrousel, Peter Pan, and Small World.




We also got in to see Philharmagic in just a couple of minutes...


This one instantly became one of my favorites. I was laughing both at the show and at Aaron's reaction to his first 3-D movie. He was constantly reaching out and trying to grab the things! I won't spoil it for those who haven't seen it yet, but the effects are absolutely awesome.


During It's a Small World, we found that Aaron really likes the boat rides. He looked at the dolls singing and the animals and the scenery, but he also liked looking over the edge at the water. He asked at least twice for money to throw in there (we said no). At the end of the ride, he looks at the clock near the entrance/exit and says rather loudly, "STOP SINGING THAT SONG!!!" I only caught something about a song, but Sheri, stifling a laugh, looks at me and says "did he just say that?" Once she told me exactly what he said, I couldn't stop laughing for several minutes. Aaron kept looking at me and saying that it wasn't funny, but I begged to differ.


Okay...potty break...and Aaron's still dry! This is the best success we've had with him and potty training yet. If I have to buy a plane ticket once a week and have him pee all over an airplane seat to potty train him, then I just might do that!


We looked at our watch, and we're waay ahead of where we thought we would be (about an hour and a half). Hey, Cinderellabration was going to start in 3 minutes...LET'S GO!


We worked our way around the Liberty Square side of the Castle and see a sea of folks waiting to see the show (say that 5 times fast). We started across the bridge when we heard them say that the show was cancelled (probably due to it still raining a bit).


What does this mean? Hmmm...Everyone is in front of the Castle...nobody is in Liberty Square. LET'S GO TO LIBERTY SQUARE before the masses leave the Castle. We were at the perfect place at the perfect time yet again! We were going to head over to the Country Bears when, out of the corner of our eyes by the saloon is Woody and Jessie! Aaron doesn't see them, so we get in line without telling him what the line was for. We strike up a conversation with the family in front of us as the line moves forward, and Aaron notices all the pins that one of the kids is wearing on his lanyard. Uh-oh. You've got enough obsessions already kid...don't start the pin frenzy this early!


While we're waiting in line, Aaron sees a puddle of water. Now, everybody pull out your calculators and see if you can solve this: Small boy + Puddle of water = ???





Before I could even register what he was going to do, he slammed his foot down into the puddle and got a Hispanic boy's pants all wet. This was probably the only time I really got angry with him the entire trip, and even then I didn't go all Tasmanian Devil/Beast like I'm known to do. He knew I was mad, and I made him apologize to the boy, while Sheri and I apologized several times to the boy's mother. We felt really bad because I think the family spoke very little English and may not have comprehended how sorry we were for what happened.


We get closer, and Aaron sees Woody and Jessie, though he was calling her "Woody's Mommy" . He's got Toy Story pretty much memorized, but he has only seen Toy Story 2 a couple of times.


It's our turn, and they change out the characters. I expected wailing from Aaron because they left, but he seemed to understand completely that "they were going to just rest for a couple minutes" and was excited to see them re-emerge moments later. He walks to them with Sharpie pen and autograph book in hand and gets autographs/pictures (of course the pen ran out as Jessie was signing).


I noticed a major difference between how Aaron reacted with Minnie and Goofy yesterday and Woody and Jessie today. I think we may have made a mistake with doing autographs at this age. He seemed like he didn't know if he should hug them and talk to them or just give them the pen and book. Oh and learn. it's around 11 am now. We decided to hold off on the Country Bears until later and make our way over to Cosmic Rays for our lunch. We got FP for Buzz and headed in to eat. We decided to use just one counter service meal on the combo and split it among the three of us. This time I looked at the number of counter service meals we had remaining.





We should have 9. WTH (in a good way)? Sheri hypothesizes that maybe we paid for Aaron to have a meal plan. Nope...I'm sure the paperwork has just the two adults on there. She says the math is correct. can't be. Then it hit me:


When we checked in, the guy said that they don't usually do this, and I finally realized why. I pulled out our Key to the World card, and, sure enough, the dining plan has 2 adults and 1 child! The front desk agent gave us a helluva gift ($60). I would have kissed that guy had I known what he did. We can now order whatever he wants as well as whatever we want (and not have to worry about what he likes to eat).


Of course this also means that Sheri was right and I was wrong. She still hasn't let me forget about it, either.


Stomachs full and still in shock at what the front desk did, I place a call to our neighbor in order to A) rub it in that it's about 50 degrees warmer where we are; B) make sure our cats are still alive; and C) find out whether his mother-in-law (Judy) works at the Emporium or Exposition Hall (several members of the family work for of our neighbor's brothers had a lot to do with the creation of Wishes).


Our FP return time for Buzz was still about 10 minutes away, so we shopped around under the TTA entrance. We get into Buzz, and Aaron promptly falls asleep while in the queue. Figures...I was expecting this to be his favorite ride, too. When we get up to where Buzz is, I rouse him, and he simply fixated on him. He can't believe he is in front of Buzz Lightyear! We got on the ride, and I let Sheri have her own gun while Aaron and I shared the other one. I then found out just how competitive my wife actually is!


While I'm trying to explain how to shoot the gun to Aaron and what to shoot for, Sheri starts racking up points. After she gets about 20,000 points ahead, I turn the seat to a blank wall so she can't hit anything either. The ride stops about halfway through, and Sheri just sits there. HERE'S MY CHANCE! Aaron and I start going for the long-distance ones, and within a matter of 20 seconds, I pass up Sheri's score. I get this big grin on my face, and she then realizes that you can still get points. After muttering a couple of choice words that I expect Aaron to repeat any day now, we're both hitting targets like crazy.


At the end of the ride, she ends up beating me by 500 points. I consider it a moral victory because I had Aaron helping.


12:30 pm, and I think it's now time to head back to the hotel for a rest. Before that, we drop in to the cinema to purchase a Pal Mickey and get a specialty pin that I won doing something online (they were out of the pins...oh well). They took Pal out and turned him on for me. I gave him to Aaron and he just held it and hugged it. This would not last long. We also decided to head to the Emporium to see if Judy was working...nope.


Aaron crashes on the bus, but he wakes up long enough to salute Buzz on the way to our room. As we approach our room, we see his Care Bear in a little hammock made from the drapes. I thought it was cute. Sheri commented that they used the only non-Disney toy we brought for decoration . Aaron, however, is pissed - he thinks the Care Bear is a hostage or something and rescues it as soon as we unlock the door. we are at our hotel at 1:00 to rest. Aaron does everything but rest. He would have given Tigger a run for his money with all his bouncing. We planned on 3-4 hours to rest, and he screwed around and finally fell asleep for a measly half-hour nap. I head down to the front desk to verify the number of meals total that we had remaining on the dining plan. They did use 1 for Aaron at Teppanyaki (which we didn't know...he ate from our plates), but there's no way I'm bringing that up. I'm still just happy as can be that they gave us the plan for him. I head back to the room to re-plan the dining structure while at the same time re-planning the touring plans since we were ahead by quite a bit. Wifey just looked over my way and mumbled something about "A.D.D. Boy".


Aaron wakes up at 3:30...nearly an hour before we wanted him to get up, and I could see in Sheri's eyes that she wanted to head back to MK. It didn't take much convincing, and we headed to the bus stop. I have started considering the timing between us and the bus as a barometer for how the day would go. We walk up and a bus pulls up. I start giggling like a little girl.


We got there in time for the 4:30 showing of Cinderellabration. Aaron finally gets to see his girlfriend! I was more or less either way on seeing it, but Sheri wanted to see it to, so we stayed:




It was cute, and I got to see Jasmine, so I'll give it a thumbs-up.


With that over and still nearly an hour before our ressies, we head over to Toontown to see if we can get another couple characters out of the way. It's a helluva lot busier now, and I start praying to the Rain Gods to come visit. Aaron wants to see Cinderelly again, so we get in line for the princesses. He was REALLY crabby (I TOLD you that you needed a longer nap) until we got into the princess room. I think they weren't used to seeing smaller boys there...they probably get a steady diet of princess wannabes, so they really did gave Aaron the royal treatment. It was Snow White, Cinderella, and Belle. The Photopass site had several pics, but here are a few that we also got:






Now, it's kind of scary, but, while I was at the Air Force Academy, the guys all argued on who the hottest princess was. I always lobbied for Ariel, but Jasmine and Belle were always in the running. When we saw Belle, she jumped to the front of my list:



The Photopass pics are better, but whoever did Belle was absolutely beautiful.


15 minutes before our ADRs, and Sheri is getting giddy with excitement. We trek from Toontown to the back of the Castle and check in. We had a little time so we looked around. Considering the last time we were here we didn't even realize you could go inside the castle, we were impressed. Sheri got a picture of her knight in shining armor:


Okay...a pic with her other knight in shining armor. I don't know what the heck Aaron was doing when I snapped this, but I'm gonna use it against him someday.


Potty break for Sheri and Aaron, so I look around some more and take a few pics. They come out, and Aaron is starting to get a little psycho. Until...


Down the steps comes Cinderella. Aaron is and starts walking to her. I grab him and get in line, while Sheri frets about him wondering how she could be in both Toontown and here. Belle now has competition for the top spot, because this Cindy was also drop-dead beautiful.



This picture was taken right after Aaron got his first kiss from a princess. I nearly got in line after that!


The minute Aaron leaves Cindy, the bells chime and the Royal Mushrush family is to be seated (man, their timing is perfect!) We're seated and took pics of the lipstick mark. The server comes, and Sheri and I both wonder if any of the servers are near nervous breakdowns with all the "My Lords" and "My Ladies". The food is...well...AWESOME!!!. We vow to go back to Phase 1 of South Beach after Christmas and indulge ourselves in the food here. I got the 10 oz. prime rib, while Sheri got the tenderloin. Aaron got his usual chicken blobs (fruit instead of fries...and he didn't whine). For dessert, Aaron got a sundae (and he nearly ate the whole thing), I got the triple-layer chocolate cake, and Sheri got the crème brulee. I've read that the food here gets a bad rap, but we absolutely loved it. We were definitely thanking the dining plan.


I have never seen him concentrate so much on a meal:


Even though the tip is included with the dining plan, we add a little bit more (mostly to compensate for all the "My Lords" and "My Ladies"). As we head downstairs, who should we see but (you guessed it) Cindy again.


Aaron is almost quivering with excitement.


"Hold on've talked to her twice already"




How could I say "no" to that? There was no line, and Aaron almost knocked her down with the hug. She laughs and gives him ANOTHER KISS.


Let's tally the score:








Something ain't right with the world.


Well, it's somewhere around 7:00 now, and we are already done with the plans for the day. Let's head to Adventureland and get a head start on another day's plan !!! We walk through the Castle leisurely and stop dead in our tracks. Main Street U.S.A. lit up at night during the Christmas season simply cannot be described. We took a picture, but the lighting just didn't work out that well.


Eventually we head to the bridge to Adventureland and immediately find Rafiki and Timon. The line was short (Heck, there's no schedule...let's enjoy it!) so we got in. We are second from the front when the characters "take a break". Aaron is fine with it again. When they come back out, Timon starts playing with the crowd...going in and out...back and forth...etc. The folks in front of us had a blast with him. I don't know if they were cast members who knew the character or not, but Timon was having all sorts of fun with them (I recall seeing a pen go flying through the air and making them run for it).


Aaron gets the hugs, autographs, and pics, and we head to Aladdin. Short line again, and we get on in 2 cycles. Sheri rides with Aaron in front, and I shoot them from the back.


No...Aaron isn't washing off the lipstick. We ride, and Aaron takes the carpet all the way up and Mommy when she tries to bring the carpet back down a little. He did the same thing to us on Dumbo. I try to figure out the tilt in the back seat and never really got the hang of it when the ride ends. We avoided the camel spit at least.


We get off, and who do we run into but Aladdin himself and Jasmine! We get in line, and Aaron is talking a mile a minute (Where's his carpet? Where's Abu? Where's Genie? etc.). I told him to ask them when he got up there. Sure enough, he goes really quiet when he meets them, and, though he asked them where Abu was, it was almost in a whisper (Abu, by the way, was in Animal Kingdom). He got that way with a lot of was like he was in awe of them when he got up next to them. Sheri jokes that Aladdin had a striking resemblance to John Stamos.


Al noticed the lipstick and asked who he got a kiss from. Aaron just stared and smiled. I mouthed "Cindy" to Jasmine, and she played right along. Right as we were ready to leave, Al says there's something on Aaron's right cheek (Cindy kissed the left cheek).


Jasmine planted a kiss on the other cheek.











I throw in the towel. I can't compete with a cute 2 year old.


We then hit the Tiki Birds, and I'm a little nervous about Aaron and being scared in the dark. He LOVED it and wanted to go on it again. Spectromagic was due to start in 20 minutes, though, so we convince him to see the parade. He states that it's okay and proceeds to go from excited to asleep in approximately 2.6 seconds. We head over to Liberty Square and secure a spot next to a walkway that they say will close once the parade starts. We talk with the CM who's on the college program there while we wait. Here comes the parade, and I've got to admit that, despite being skeptical about people getting in front of us, nobody did. I did cast a couple of mean looks at people who thought about it, but we had an armada of families around us who looked threateningly enough to ward off anyone. We bonded.


The parade starts, and I try to rouse Aaron. It took a while, but he woke up, and the first thing he saw was the clowns playing the trumpets on the first float (probably similar to an LSD trip back in the '60s). The stroller was in front of us by the street, but he wanted to be held, and the folks around us were content with the stroller there (nobody could budge in...gave a little additional breathing room for everyone). I didn't want to put him on my shoulders for fear of obstructing the views of people behind me (we were only about 4 deep total, but we still didn't do it).


When you are holding a tall 2.98 year old, that parade can seem to go on forever. We marveled at the floats and saw Cindy (same one from the Royal Table), and Aaron loved the lights. With the parade over, we leisurely strolled near the bridge to Adventureland to stake out a spot for Wishes and saw quite a few empty spaces. Okay...we'll take it (not thinking why the spots were empty). I make a water run using snack credits and get back to where I left my family. Aaron sees everyone with a lighted thing (either a spinner or a necklace), and just at that time, one of the vendors with the lights goes by. I didn't even wait for Aaron to ask. I got him a necklace, and he promptly took it apart and whined that he broke it. We put the ends back together and played that game for a while until Wishes started.

We had our camera on the "night-time" setting and got the acid trip lights of the Crystal Palace in the background.



It was really overcast and foggy, and although we could see the castle, there was a rather large tree blocking our view to the left of the castle.


Oops. I could have sworn I heard Sheri mutter "Dumbass" under her breath.


I don't think it mattered where we were watching the fireworks, though. The only ones we could see distinctly were the ones fired right by the castle. The ones that went higher were diffused almost to the point where you couldn't see them. I'm guessing the blokes (we stood next to a British woman during Spectromagic, and her vernacular rubbed off on me) standing at the station at the end of Main Street couldn't even see those. Tinkerbelle was clear, and Aaron thought it was cool. Some people were upset that they couldn't see anything, but we took it in stride...we were coming back on the 19th (Day 4) anyway.


Afterwards I wanted to just sit and people-watch for a bit to let the crowds thin out a bit (there was another Spectromagic, but we weren't staying for that). Aaron ruins that plans when he tells us that he wants to go home to rest (translation: get my ass back to the hotel so I can sleep in a bed!). We join the swarm heading for the exit and laugh at the folks returning the rented strollers.


There's a bus for All Star Movies!!! Quick...RUN!!! Oh, wait, there's half of the people staying at Movies in the line. I'm still chalking up another successful timing, however. Well...what to do...the line for Music is really small. Besides, we want to see some of the other hotels, too! We hop in line for A-S Music and strike up a conversation with a nice family from Jackson, MS. The bus comes, and Aaron crashes on the bus for good.


We get to Music and head through the main hall and start looking around. Sheri and I are wide awake, but Aaron is dead to the world. Sounds like a good time to look around. So Sheri starts taking pics with Aaron sleeping in them.



We keep exploring and run into Donald and Daisy! Now, I have a history trying to find Donald. When we came down in '01, I looked everywhere for Donald (he's my favorite) and never saw him. Damnit, I wanted a picture with him! So I settled for this:


We head back to our room, but stop for a snack break (sugar-free jello...must not upset the South Beach Gods any more than we already have). Finally we are home to rest.


We put Aaron to bed, hopped into bed ourselves, and decided not to have a wake-up call for tomorrow (Sunday the 18th). Sunday was to be a "down day" with no theme parks.


Yeah, right...down day.

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