Part 2 is located HERE
We exited the ride, and headed over to the restroom area for Sheri. Brian and I head over to Sunshine Seasons and grab a couple of bottled waters (found out the keys worked again magically as I used snack credits for it). Brian asked if we had ever done the Behind the Seeds tour around Living with the Land. I said someday we'll probably hit it. "Wanna do it now? There's a tour leaving in a few minutes, and sign up is right here!"
Sheri comes out, and she's okay with it. So we sign up. As has been most of the afternoon, we had a war of the wallet (fighting to see who could get the wallet out first to pay for it!). Brian won this one. They had discounts. I had a AAA card and a Disney Visa card, and Brian had an AP (I think). We jokingly tried to convince the CM for a 45% discount (all 3 discounts applied at once). About 2 minutes later, Bethany comes out, and we're on our way! I won't go into detail and ruin the entire tour for those who want to do it sometime, but I would HIGHLY recommend it! I think I became the annoying kid in class that asked questions all the time, but she tolerated me pretty well (better than wifey usually does). She couldn't help but wonder why there was a person in the group named "Bris," though.
We got into the greenhouse, and displays/examples were really good in there. While it's neat to see things growing in there, it's easy to forget that the stuff in the ground is being grown in sand. Bethany talked about how they start the seedlings out and what they are transplanted into. She pulls out this little box and says that it all goes in here. "This is really durable…in fact, you could stand on it, and it could hold your weight." Some folks didn't believe her, so she hopped on it.
This picture was taken right as she said "Boy I'm glad that actually worked!"
The hydroponics area was really neat! She showed how they can grow vegetables entirely in water with the mixture of the right fertilizer. She handed out a paper to everyone who was interested in how to set one up at home. Sheri hands it to me and tells me to hold it up.
Bethany looks at Sheri as she's taking the picture of the handout and says, "I….can….give…you another one….if…you ….want?"
Yep, I was gonna tease her on that the rest of the day.
We went into another section of the greenhouse...Brian was selected to release ladybugs into the greenhouse to help control the aphid population.
This is the punchline to one of the funniest jokes I've ever heard, and Brian pulled the delivery off perfectly!
"THE" tomato tree:
I love how bananas and pineapples grow.
Towards the end, Bethany offers to give out awards. We encourage Brian to get one for his superior effort at letting ladybugs go:
We also got one for being able to sniff out herbs and spices fairly accurately.
We headed back to the entrance as the tour ended and thanked Bethany for the information.
Our ADRs were about 40 minutes away for dinner at San Angel. Brian was going to head back into the park to see the F&G festival some more, so we said our goodbyes. It was great to see you again Brisully! Until next time, bud!
We stopped at the Kodak place under Spaceship Earth to grab our photo from the Visa meet-n-greet and made our way over to Mexico.
We were seated a little early, and the meal topped Rose and Crown! It was beautiful in there…dark, but not too dark. The mariachi band started up as we got our appetizers and played for a good 15 minutes. The table behind me had a child with a "protein spill", as the mother (a former CM) put it. I had the Plato Mexicano, and Sheri had something else…HEY! She didn't put it in her journal, and I was busy eating my food! I had a taste of it, and it was awesome, but I couldn't remember it. She'll read this, slap me, and tell me what it was in a bit. I'll get back to you. Oh, and she'll want to make sure I include how I put my foot in my mouth about the cilantro in the ceviche appetizer. I mentioned how well it tasted, even though I didn't eat it all (wanted room for the main course and dessert). I commented on how, even though a lot of people don't associate cilantro with Mexican food, it worked really well (at the restaurant I worked at back in my undergrad years, I could have sworn I heard it was used primarily in Italian dishes).
The CM, without blinking, was exceptionally nice and mentioned in a very professional way that cilantro was used in a wide variety of Mexican dishes.
She leaves, and Sheri proceeds to call me a moron for the next ten minutes.
We gave her an extra $10 tip (above the 18% already given to her from the DDP), especially since the folks at the table next to us left her with a $5 tip on a significant bill. She was awesome as she took the time to get to know us a little and talk a little bit about where she was from (can she teach the servers at Mama Melrose's on how to do that without forgetting the rest of your tables?).
We left the restaurant and tried to walk on to the Gran Fiesta. The CM there tells us to stand off to the side for a minute. We thought we were in trouble or something.
The next boat fills, and they're off. Then she tells us to get in the next boat and to enjoy the ride by ourselves. The Anniversary pins! She wished us a happy anniversary as we coasted by.
The ride was cute…not as it'sasmallworld-y as I recalled el Rio de Tiempo being. We enjoyed the ride…loved having the boat to ourselves.
We hopped out of Mexico and made our way to Norway. Let me start by saying that the rumor of the total hotness of the female CMs there is completely and unequivocally TRUE!!!! Sheri even commented on the one at the snack stand outside. I did the requisite pic in a Viking helmet…tried to match RMD's stance in his pic in the hat…was close but not exact.
Over to China next. It seemed like both Norway and China were being overrun by high schoolers that were being typical unchaperoned high schoolers. We saw the warrior room and the rotunda in the temple.
The decision now was to figure out where to watch Illuminations. We walked past Italy where we watched it with the DD crew and the Badelves crew, but it was roped off for a special function. I heard that the bridge near the International Gateway was a good spot, so we walked over to there. I could tell Sheri had her mind on other things. Usually it's me that's getting a little melancholy this part of the vacation (we're past the half-way point and we'll be heading back soon), but I found a way to counter that (I think of every morning as "it's our first day here"…it moves the mid-point of our vacation later and later). Sheri was missing the kids.
We get to the bridge, and I hand Sheri the phone to call her folks. Unfortunately, the kids were at my folks' place today (crazy chain of events changed who was watching them a bit). Still, her folks wanted to gab.
Illuminations started, and I finally see the inferno barge in action!
I think I am going to get raked over the coals here, but I think I prefer Wishes to Illuminations (and I prefer Disneyland's fireworks to Wishes). The ending to the Christmas Illuminations was something to behold!!! The regular Illuminations, however…I like the first barrage and the finale. Perhaps it's the A.D.D., but the parts with the fountains slow it down too much for me, and I just don't appreciate the significance of the globe (yet…in time I might). I guess I don't get the symbolism of everything yet. The last time, I was worried about Aaron. This time, I could tell Sheri wasn't there.
It's over, and Sheri wants to head out immediately. I convinced her to stay back and let the hordes of folks go first, and, while waiting, we can call the boys. Of course, Aaron doesn't say much to her (talks my ear off, though). I would have been fine with the other way around. Eric had a couple meltdowns over the past day or two, and I think she started feeling guilty again about leaving them for so long.
We started working our way back while still talking to my step-mother (storms had rolled through central Illinois the previous day, and my father pulled a VERY long shift repairing power lines, so he was crashed in bed). We get to the bus stops, but they were bringing busses from every direction. They actually had 3 stacked next to each other for the Pop! We were back to the resort in no time.