View Full Version : Episode 4: I've looked around, no one looks like him

02-22-2001, 06:43 PM
It's Episode IV. As a reminder: I'm Joe, the Dad and 38. Kathy is the Mom, also known as Lucy is 34 (I had her as 37 in the last report...I almost didn't live to tell the rest of our tale). Christopher is 8 and is also known as "Map Boy" or Huckle. Connor is 5 and the famous "Octopus" from Episode 1 is 18 month old Alex.

Episode 4: "I've looked around, no one looks like him."

Friday, January 12, 2001: As Kathy and I rise to meet the beautiful morning of our second full day at the World, we both peer at our little boy poking his head over the rails of his crib. "Do you smell anything?" I ask apprehensively. We both take a deep breath of bad hotel air. We are most pleased to find a boy with no poop. As we revel in our good fortune, Kathy chuckles at our smiling little Octopus. "I’ve looked around," she says, "No one looks like him." I sit puzzled for a moment. What does that mean? This is a silly statement, all kids look different, and of course no one else looks like him. Hmmm. Maybe she means that the boy is so darn cute, that no one else compares. This is true of course, but I don’t think that’s what she means. I know we’re not entering into one of our least favorite "he looks just like his father" exercises. Looking at my puzzled expression, Kathy explains that she has looked around at a lot of other kids and none of them look so consistently messy as our little Octopus. This, I assure her is quite untrue, there are plenty of messy children. I tell her she is extra critical of her own boys. "No", she repeats, "no one looks like him."

Although we had no way of knowing at the time, the curse of the previous two days had been broken and we now sat at the cusp of several quite wonderful days at the World. Our misfortunes, however, have seriously jeopardized my self-assumed role as chief planner. Christopher, sensing my moment of uncertainty boldly demands that we change our plans for the day and head off to the Animal Kingdom in place of our planned return to the Magic Kingdom. OK, he actually politely asked if we could go to Animal Kingdom, but I saw right through that boyish sincerity. Sure, we had a few mishaps on our first day, but there was no way this crew could be blaming me. No way, I think. Change the plans that I’ve been working on for the past six month? The finely tuned schedule, the perfectly chosen meals. Not in a million years. Who does this little runt think he is? "That’s a great idea!" I exclaim. OK, I’m more than a bit humbled and am quite relieved at relinquishing command. After all, it’s Disney. Who better than an eight year old to call the shots? All you fanatical Disney planners out there, relax, I’ve already told you this tale has a happy ending. After a refreshingly inexpensive breakfast in our room (cereal and coffeecake from Walmart, milk and coffee from Gasperilla), we head off for the Animal Kingdom. The bus ride is easy, even with the big stroller (I still haven’t figured out what piece of flying plastic is missing). As we walk towards the entrance to the park, we happen upon an oddly placed trash barrel. The boys are all a bit startled when this misplaced inanimate object becomes quite animated. The trash barrel suddenly moves several feet and begins a conversation with a youngster in front of us. This is classic Disney, one of those little touches that makes this place special. The perplexed look on the boy's faces as they try to piece together the illogical is priceless. We enter the park with relatively low expectations, having heard from several people that they were disappointed with the Animal Kingdom. It did not take us long, however, to be pleasantly surprised. We really like this place! Map boy, consumed with his growing position of power, leads us through the Oasis and into Safari Village. We are all mesmerized by the majesty of the Tree of Life. This towering tree, sculpted with the images of a multitude of animal figures is a spectacle worthy of its place at the center of the park. Like the castle, it often steels your attention sending you soaring on magical clouds of imagination.

The big boys and I head off to It's Tough to be a Bug! Mom and the babe take in the Flights of Wonder. As the boys and I wend our way down the path that leads to the ride, I notice the look of apprehension on Connor's face. I don't think Connor will ever be known as a risk taker. He doesn't like thrill rides or scary rides and this is surely pushing the limits of his courage. He shows an uncharacteristic resolve to tough this one out as he insists that he is not scared. His eyes, however, betray his best attempts at bravery. As the show starts, we are all amused at the early antics of Flik and his many friends. The 3D is the best I have seen and appears much crisper than the Muppet 3D. Connor is doing well right up until the bug spray is spewed out onto the audience. This pushes him past his limit, but I calm him by offering my lap. This is a good thing, as moments later creatures begin crawling across the seats under our bottoms. As the audience screams, Connor sits safely atop his dad and actually enjoys the rest of the show. He is very proud of himself as we exit the theater. I'm pretty proud of the little guy too.

As we emerge from the tree, we hook up with mom and the babe and head over to the Kilimanjaro Safaris. We talk to a friendly cast member about the pregnant mom disclaimer and decide it would be best for Kathy to sit this one out. The boys and I have a great time on the ride and I agree with the warnings for pregnant girls. This is a bit of a bumpy ride. Walking back to find mom, the babe falls into a state of blissful slumber and I carefully slide him into the big stroller. The babe sleeps as we explore the wonders of the Pangani Forest Exploration Trail. We really like this relaxing trail. With the sparse crowds, we thoroughly enjoy the lush greenery and the many animals along the winding trail. With the little guy still sleeping, we head over to the Tusker House for some lunch. We are hungry and the food here is quite delicious. The babe wakes up in time to share our lunch. Before we leave, we spot our first penny press. These are wonderful machines that convert 51 cents into a pressed copper souvenir. How is this legal? We will leave with many of these smooshed pennies before our vacation is complete.

After lunch Christopher and I get Fast Passes for Dinosaur, then we all head over to Tarzan Rocks. Waiting in line before the show, we soon find ourselves in the midst of our first big crowd. I experimented with several approaches for dealing with the relatively few large crowds we encountered during our trip. Approach 1: Be very polite, allow people to go before you including the rude people that would slime their way in front of you anyway. Result: Big mistake, as soon as you hesitate, swarms of otherwise reasonable people will plow past you in the blink of an eye. Approach 2: Boston driver approach. Here is where you stay as close as possible to the people in front of you and never, ever, let anyone cut in. That’s never…even when merging is appropriate. Result: This is not our style and we can’t really pull this off. You’d think with years of Boston driving, that this approach would come naturally. Approach 3: Actively seek out the aggressive, rude offenders and deposit used diaper somewhere on their possession. Result: OK, we really didn't do this, but there were times that we sure would have liked to. Conclusion: A mix between Approaches 1 and 2 seemed to work best. For the most part, politeness is contagious, although large crowds tend to negate any acts of civility. In these cases, those who hesitate are truly lost. Enough of Joe's crowd management 101…on to the show. Tarzan Rocks was very well done. The rollerblading monkeys were high-energy balls of flying fur. Tarzan, however, made me feel quite inferior and more than a bit flabby. This guy is the real life version of the animated Tarzan. Many muscles, 2% body fat. As we leave the show I think of the cobweb-covered barbells that lie dormant in the corner of my basement. Moments later, I’m trying to remember where the nearest ice cream vendor was.

The coveted "that was awesome" rating was bestowed on yet another ride as Christopher finds the Dinosuar ride (formerly known as The Countdown to Extinction) pretty cool. Fast pass is hardly needed as the normal line is only about a five-minute wait. We are all starting to get a bit hungry again, but before we head back for dinner, the boys have a ball in the Boneyard Playground. The babe thinks he’s one of the big boys and must be watched very closely. Unlike his older brother, I have no doubt that Alex will often be described as fearless. As we exit the park, we unanimously agree that we should come back. Moments later, Kathy blind sides me by suggesting we go to Chef Mickey’s for dinner. First the little guy, now the pregnant girl. Still reeling from my total loss of control, I pull out my scheduling spreadsheet to review our options. We have no Priority Seating, this is a very popular restaurant, it’s prime dinnertime and Chef Mickey’s is not even on my list of potential dining choices. Wielding no political power, however, I agree to give it a try. Boy am I glad I did. We had a great time at Chef Mickey's. The food is good, the atmosphere is mayhem and we all have lots of fun. With only a ten-minute wait, I wonder why I bothered making any plans. With their autograph books and pens in hand, the boys wait anxiously for Mickey, Minnie, Goofy, Pluto and Donald to visit our table. Connor is totally enamored by Mickey and his crew.

Entering our room we find our beds turned down, a handful of chocolates and the boys several Pokemon plush toys carefully placed atop a pyramid of pillows. Each night for the rest of our stay, the boys find their Pokemon placed in various poses throughout the room. We love this personalized touch. Connor and Alex prepare for bed and their nightly dose of Toon Disney. Christopher and I decide to take a quick dip in the pool. Kathy is content to rest her weary bones. Somehow, entering the pool we don't notice that the air is a bit cool. The heated pool is soooo relaxing, we spend over an hour tossing a ball and splashing about. When it's time to go, we finally notice the cold. Exiting the pool is like leaving a warm bath to enter a refrigerator. We both dry off quickly and rush to our room. Soon all of the boys are tucked in and within seconds are fast asleep. As I make my rounds, kissing each boy on the cheek, I stop at the babe and smile. Kathy is right, no one does look like him. I wonder how I can be so lucky.

Coming soon

Episode 5: Whose sock is this?

02-23-2001, 04:10 AM
THese are by far the most entertaining and insightful trip reports I have ever read. You are a gifted writer, Joe. I am loving your reports and must absorb every word as I never know where you are going to mix in beautiful observations of your precious wife and boys, or touching memories of your dad's laugh. I am laughing and crying at the same time. Thanks for sharing your trip and your talent!!

02-23-2001, 05:58 AM
These reports are Great! I can't wait for more!

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-Jimmy Buffett

02-23-2001, 06:33 AM
Thanks for your reports. Your joy in your family is obvious and delightful.
Sigh.... I can't wait for May (our next trip!).

02-23-2001, 06:54 AM
Great reports - I've been waiting anxiously for this installment! Your last sentiment brought tears to my eyes.

Just gotta ask - are you and your wife hoping for a girl this time? It's obvious you adore your boys - I bet a girl would fit in perfectly with your family. My sister-in-law had 4 boys and finally, by the grace of God, got her girl and decided 5 was enough. Of course, my niece is in big trouble with 4 older brothers. She is almost 7 now, and I usually find her with her sparkly pink nail polish and mounds of dirt under those nails from keeping up with the boys.


02-23-2001, 07:05 AM
Absolutely fantastic reports, Joe. I hereby nominate you for free admission to the DBC once it gets going!!!(Disney Burial Club, the new time-share graveyard being speculated on over at the DVC board!) :D :D :D


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02-23-2001, 07:14 AM
Just LOVE your reports. We have four kids, too, three boys and a girl (not planned, never NOT wanted, and such a welcome change -- at least until she hit fourteen ;)). As you describe your boys, I see a little of mine in there: the fearless one (who's now quite the soccer player), the not-so-fearless one (who's now a musician), the 'planner' (who's a good student off to BU next fall). And I've had to deal with many an explosive situation like you and Kathy had the first day in the parks. JUST KEEP THAT SENSE OF HUMOR. As you pointed out about your own father, laughter is what your children will carry with them. And there truly are times when humor is the only thing that will carry you through -- like while you're waiting for that next 'eruption'. Can't wait to read the rest of your reports.

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02-23-2001, 07:17 AM
Have been enjoying your reports, Joe! Thanks for taking the time to write them!

We will be heading back to Disney in May with our 6 yo DS (his 5th trip) and our 2 yo DD (her 3rd trip).

Jill (down the road in Mendon)

02-23-2001, 09:52 AM

Thanks for your reports! I get a good laugh out of them. You truly get us all involved in what's going to happen next. I look forward to the next installment.

02-23-2001, 11:26 AM
Thanks for making me laugh (and cry!) I especially loved the comment about leaving a dirty diaper behind! The love you have for your family is beautiful and it shows. Looking forward to the next day!

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02-23-2001, 12:47 PM
Joe thanks for the humor!! I can't wait to try and pen our trip I'm sure it will be no comparasion to the great job you have done keeping us all entertained. Keep em coming...

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02-23-2001, 12:54 PM
You are indeed a gifted writer. I feel like I know your family and I know I would spot the "octopus" the moment I saw him.

Can't wait for the rest!!!

Peggy Sue
02-23-2001, 04:18 PM
Joe, OK, I'm hooked! Waiting for your next installement! You are a gifted writer and I'm really enjoying the tale of your great vacation! Thanks for taking the time to share all of this with us!

Have a wonderful day!

02-23-2001, 05:04 PM
I am certainly glad you lived to tell us more! You are a great writer!

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Casey's mom
02-23-2001, 05:24 PM
Really enjoying your reports. Sounds like your trip was great!

02-23-2001, 06:32 PM
Great trip reports, can't wait for episode 5!!!! :D

02-23-2001, 08:23 PM
Your Episodes have been wonderful. My DH and I just read all four of them. It's sounds like you had an interesting time. We also have an "octopus". He has two brothers and a sister who keep us very busy.


Marla Hellwig
02-23-2001, 09:52 PM
Enjoying your reports. I have one dd who is 9 3/4 and going on whatever. She is fearless and never stops. Thanks for posting!

02-23-2001, 10:51 PM
I love your reports. As previously said, you are a very gifted writer. Hope we don't have to wait long to find out who's sock it is. Keep them, coming. I'll be checking everyday.


Remember, hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things, and no good thing ever dies.

02-24-2001, 04:54 AM
Absolutely wonderful, Joe.

Thanks for taking the time to post these.

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02-24-2001, 09:35 AM
I thought that your title meant that you had lost someone. I'm so glad you didn't have to deal with that.

Anticipating episode 5....

02-24-2001, 01:24 PM
Joe, I can only hope that you take another trip really soon so I can read more of your reports!

02-24-2001, 02:48 PM
Thank-you for sharing your trip with us! I'm am really enjoying the tales of your recent trip, you are a talented writer. I can hardly wait for episode V.


02-24-2001, 03:20 PM
Thanks for posting Joe, Your family sounds wonderful.


02-24-2001, 04:04 PM
Joe, what a hoot! Am thoroughly enjoying your trip reports! From the diaper blow outs to Chef Mickey's, it sounds like you and your family had a wonderful time and took everything in stride. Bring on Episode 5! :D


02-24-2001, 04:39 PM
I am loving your trip reports! You write so well! I feel like I am with you and your family on your trip! I especially like the Griswold touch in one of your reports. When I was growing up, my family always had "Griswold vacations."
Picture this, a tow truck pulling a Plymouth Horizon, pulling a pop-up trailer, making a U turn on a busy highway with 6 people in the front of the tow truck. That's the kind of family vacations we had!
Can't wait for the next report!

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02-24-2001, 07:33 PM
Excellent report, Joe! I'll be waiting (with everyone else ;) ) for your next installments.


02-24-2001, 08:28 PM
I cant wait for the next! I'm sitting here in ALL of your wonderful and talented writing qualities, and reading word by word to my girlfriend, who at first, I thought, was bored. After I stopped reading out loud, she then asked, Is this part 4?? LOL!! She is as interested as I am! Thanks for the great reports, keep them coming, please!! Your vacation sounds wonderful! While reading your reports, I feel as though Im right there with you! Thanks again!

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02-25-2001, 05:36 AM
Joe - Your trip reports are Marvelous! I am enjoying them immensly.....The exploding baby had me laughing out loud just as my DH was asking me a question...Poor guy looked at me & said" What was so funny about that?" To which all I could do was laugh some more.....

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02-25-2001, 08:47 AM
Love your trip reports! We have had similar experiences like yours with the octopus, so I was ROFL! Waiting patiently for the 5th installment!

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02-25-2001, 05:28 PM
I'll echo everyone else's senitments by saying that I love this report Joe! I'm laughing out loud one moment and getting teary-eyed the next. Wonderful job!!


02-25-2001, 08:36 PM
really enjoyed your posts looking forward to reading about the rest of your trip. We are taking my son (3) to the World in May. Reading your posts reminds me why we are spending all this money on something he probably won't remember -- so we can experience his reactions to what he see's and does!!! By the way, I cannot tell you how many times my husband has refered to the rollercoaster scene in Parenthood to describe his reactions to some of DS's antics...

Looking forward to the rest of the trip reports. thanks for sharing.

02-26-2001, 10:27 PM
Your reports continue to be wonderful! Cant wait for the next one.

Thanks for posting :D


02-27-2001, 12:00 PM
These are getting to low on the page!!! :D

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03-02-2001, 07:13 AM

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03-16-2001, 10:36 AM
I love these things so much I want everyone to read.

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03-16-2001, 01:57 PM
i just love reading it

03-17-2001, 03:11 PM
We enjoy AK too!

03-18-2001, 05:13 AM
<font color=666600>Joe your reports are delightful, thanks for sharing.</font>

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