Monday, February 22, 2010
Part 3 is located HERE.
The bus ride was uneventful, and we throw the kids in the room for a nap.
Eric fell asleep about 10 minutes before we planned on leaving to catch the bus for Epcot. Aaron didn't fall asleep at all (heck, he had the bus ride to sleep on…why sleep now?!) Eric falls back asleep on the bus, and, true to form, Aaron crashes before we are past the security gate for the Pop. While on the bus, we talk to a family from Kansas City and another family from eastern Pennsylvania. They had just gotten there, so we were talking about the weather and trying to get down to Orlando. They were pumping us for the crowd levels.
We get to the park, and I throw Aaron up in the air while I put the stroller up. Just as planned, Aaron falls down right into the seat just as I finish. He's completely out for the count, so it's another trip with just Eric (seems to be just Epcot that we visit with only Eric). We have ressies for Akershus and want to get there around 20-30 minutes early as I've read on several reviews at allearsnet that the seating is kind of crazy at this place. We chose not to do any attractions and head straight to Norway so I could see some future ex-Mrs. Mush's (there's something in the water in Norway that makes all the women drop-dead gorgeous). I hop up to the podium and find out that we're a little early to check in. Aaron's still out...we don't want to wake him. Besides, we both think that the boys would never get in a boat again if we subject them to Maelstrom (and the film afterwards that sent Sheri and me to therapy), so I stay outside with Aaron while Sheri and Eric stroll around a bit.
I found a future ex-wife, but my current wife had the camera.
They return after a few minutes and tell me to look at the pastries at Kringola. Yeah, that definitely on our list of places to eat at in the future (as I'm sure AJ from the DisneyFoodBlog will agree)! I check in (and contemplate proposing to the CM on the spot), and we start the waiting process to be seated. We're outside, but the weather is perfect…the cold front was moving through (those astute readers probably noticed that Eric had long sleeves and a jacket…different from this afternoon) and it was a very comfortable 55-60 degrees. After a few minutes (much better than the 45 minutes I was dreading…I expect the worst and am pleasantly surprised when things go better), our name is called, and we get in line for a pic of Belle.
I see Belle and immediately put her at the top of the future ex-Mrs. Mush list (and she's not even from Norvay!):
We're seated really close to where Belle is, and Sheri, of course, makes sure that Belle's out of my line-of-sight around a wall. Knut is our server, and he explains how it all works (first time here for us). We decide on a bottle of Gewurtzraminer. As he gets the wine, I check the phone and see 2 messages have appeared in the 15 minutes since I last checked. The first one is my father wishing me a happy birthday. The second one is Debbie calling me from home and telling me that, had she known my birthday was so soon, she would have given me a big kiss when we saw each other.
Damn, those missed opportunities. I would have called Squid immediately had she done that just to rub it in! Tell ya what, Debbie…you can give me that kiss next time we see each other!
We make our way to the Koltbord and start loading up the plates. The salmon's really good…haven't had salmon that way since I was at Pike Place Market in Seattle a couple of years back. Eric couldn't find anything to eat so I got a few extra shrimp to peel and give to him. He eats every single one of my shrimp (except for the 2 that Sheri stole). I end up being ordered back up to the buffet by all three of them to get more shrimp for everyone, and I spend the next 15 minutes peeling shrimp non-stop (seriously!).
Happy birthday to me.
The main course comes, and my salmon entrée is awesome! Sheri got the hasenpfeffer (again, she didn't write down what she got so I'm making it up…some pork entrée if I remember correctly). While we're eating the main course, the rest of the princesses stop by. First up is Ariel.
The boys like her, but she's enamoured (threw in the 'u' for my Canadian friends (Cathy)) with Eric (her prince is named Eric, remember?). She tells Sheri to get ready because she's going to "tell him a secret."
About 30 seconds later, here comes Jasmine. Sorry, but after meeting Jasmine at the Moose Meet, there is only one Jasmine for me. After she leaves, Aurora does a quick hello, and then Cindy waltzes up.
I mention how much Eric talked about meeting you (Cindy) at ToonTown yesterday, and Eric gets another one planted on him…full body dip and everything, too!
I look down at my birthday pin, pretend to drop my napkin, and secretly take a couple sprays of Binaca Blast while out of sight of Cindy. I then look up, give my best doe-eyes, and gaze into Cinderella's beautiful face, lips pursed ever-so-slightly. My eyes close as I lean in…
…She gets up and goes to the next table.
Oh well… it was probably for the best anyways as I mis-sprayed the Binaca and had my eyes watering. I tell Sheri I'm crying because I love her so much…Where's Belle?
All joking aside, all of the Cast Members really did take notice of the pin. I remember this with Aaron's birthday a couple of years ago.
We order coffee, and, catching me off-guard, Knut brings a cupcake for me. Of course, Eric promptly blows out the candle the second he places it on the table in front of me (he's fire-conscious). While trying to figure out how to split a cupcake 4 ways, the dessert is served. They have REALLY good dessert there. It works out well because we all like different things. As Knut is clearing stuff off (we were one of the last tables in there), we take a few minutes to just talk to him about Norway…about how long they're able to work here…etc. I've heard this advice before about taking the time to talk to the native CMs…I would strongly recommend this to anyone if the CM has the time.
We pay the bill and give him a decent tip on top of the DDP tip. After a potty break, we make our way out to the promenade and slowly make our way towards Germany to see the trains. We get there and see no trains. Hmmmmmmmm…oh well. The sugar is really kicking in for the boys, so we start to make our way back in a not-so-veiled threat to head back to the hotel to go to bed. They start to calm down as we see the decorations by the tree and on the way towards Future World. We bribe them that, if they calm down a little more, we'll take them to see one more thing. We make a left at Innoventions West, briefly check the wait time for Soarin (knowing full well how bad it would be), and make an immediate right towards the Seas. There weren't too many folks around, so we let them run the last 100 feet or so to the MINE birds. They could have stayed there for an hour. Come to think of it, so could I.
We enter the queue line for the clam-mobiles, and I really take in the transition from above water on the shore to underwater. We figured the boys would love this ride…we underestimated big-time. Oh, did they ever take to this ride! We get off, and, for the first time this trip, we hear "Can we ride it again? Please?!!!" We tell them that we'll be back here tomorrow and will ride it again (IF they behaved).
We take the escalator up and let the boys loose at the aquarium. This is about the calmest the boys ever were during this trip (not counting around 3:47 am one night when both of them actually were asleep at the same time). They take in the sights of the underwater world for a good 10-15 minutes, not saying much – just looking. We head back to the main level and, while it's getting a little later than we intended to be here (since it was the middle of the trip, we wanted to leave well before 8 to let them decompress a little more than usual, and it was already something like 7:30), we decide to see when the next showing of Turtle Talk was going to be. It was only a 5 minute wait until we could go in, so we look around the exhibits there for a bit. We do the obligatory Bruce pic:
Mommy? Daddy needs a princess to kiss him…he's losing it!
We get into Turtle Talk and stick around near the front in case one of them freaks out and needs to find us. Crush comes out, and the boys are fine. We sit back and enjoy the show…
Until Aaron raises his hand to ask a question.
I turn to Sheri and simply say "hold on…this could get interesting."
I fully expect Aaron to say something like "My Daddy spanks me at least 27 times every day and tells me that Santa will never stop by our house again because I'm bad. How do you punish Squirt?"
Instead, he says nothing to Crush.
I think he may have raised his hand because the last person who did was the center of attention for a moment, and he thought that would be cool.
Crush is really patient while he waits for a question from the human dude sublevel in front with the blue shell. After what seemed like an eternity, Aaron comes up with something to say.
"I can do a somersault."
It wouldn't have taken much to determine whose offspring that one was. It was the two in the crowd with their heads looking down, hands over their faces, shaking their heads and trying not to laugh. Crush (OF COURSE) has to see how well he could do one. Aaron executes a perfect forward roll and gets an exuberant round of applause from the audience. Crush follows suit and flips over for him.
Just go with the flow – some good advice I heard earlier today.
After the laughing calms down, I'm fully expecting Eric to grab the microphone, announce that he's a T-Rex, and roar at the turtle. He didn't.
We tell the whale to go away and collect our kids. After some good-natured ribbing of Aaron (who was heeding Crush's advice and was saying "DUDE" at the end of every sentence), we head out to the bus. First, a stop at the Seas w/ Nemo sign:
Again, later than planned, but it's still before 9…before Illuminations and before the crowds are making their way to the busses. We make it back to the Pop…the boys, of course, are wound up big-time. Sheri runs out to grab some ice. I figured she'd stop and watch the fireworks for a few minutes. Nope. She comes back in a couple of minutes. I grab the handle-less cup and the receipt for the ornaments and ask her if it's okay that I pick them up and grab something to drink. She nods as she throws the boys in the tub to play with their new bathtub Nemo toys.
I walk out and hear the fireworks going off. I decide to consider the fireworks as my birthday present to myself and head up to the 4th floor. Christmas Wishes was going on in the distance, and Illuminations was going on much closer. The view wasn't quite as good as what Sheri and I had in May, but it was still spectacular nonetheless. After realizing that I had accidentally camped out in front of a window of a couple watching from inside their room (and mouthing a huge "SORRY" to them…they laughed and seemed understanding), I see the finale of Illuminations and the pause for the Christmas ending announcements. At that time, Wishes finishes up, and it appears that they launch fireworks from several different parts of the Magic Kingdom (can someone who's seen the Christmas Wishes verify?). That ends, and Epcot fires back up. I remember watching this in front of Italy with Debbie's and Mare's crew in utter amazement a couple of years ago. As shell after shell explodes in the sky, I think back to that night and just smile…Sheri and I made some really good friendships that evening.
The entire building shakes with the last barrage of fireworks launched a mile away. I immediately head back downstairs past the dog's ass to pick up the package and get a drink. It takes a little while to get the package, but I don't care at all. I take the time to watch the folks coming back from the parks…the couples holding hands as they peruse the store…the children tired but happy as they lay on their parent's shoulder…the (gulp) younger crowd running out to catch the bus to PI at DTD. I just take it in as I wait, enjoying the moment of being where I am.
I could have stayed there for another hour, but I feel like I need to head back to the room in case the boys are still acting up. Feeling a little guilty, I make my way back to the room a bit faster than normal. The boys are much calmer with the bath and the toys. Sheri affirms that they were pretty good while I was gone.
I hop in my bed with Eric, and Sheri corrals Aaron into bed with her. We do the good-nights, and we're off to the Neverland of our dreams.
As I fall asleep, I say a quick "thank you" to God for the gift of family.
Day 4 begins HERE.