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Old 12-21-2011, 04:25 PM   #46
Mommy2BnB
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We loved the great sculptures outside the Lego store. Looks like your trip is off to a great start!
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Old 02-11-2012, 07:04 PM   #47
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I have GUILT!!!! I'm so sorry for abandoning you all right when I said I was going to post.

But right before winter break I was sitting on my Mom's floor and she said, "It's been a horrible year. I need to get out of here."

Well, they had been planning on going to Thailand once my dad was healthy. Obviously, that wasn't going to happen as my dad simply isn't up to a trip to Asia with just he and Mom. So she turns to me and says, "Go with us." And I say, "Just give me a year to pay stuff off and we'll go somewhere." And she says, "No. Now. We'll pay." What????!!!!!

So we took stock of what she and Dad had saved for Thailand and I did about 30 minutes of airfare/rooming research and we decided we could do Barcelona Spain for one week for the same cost of just her and Dad going to Thailand. She called Dad and said, "Can we go to Spain in 6 weeks?" And he said yes. And I called Donald and he said, "You are crazy, but ok."

So less than one hour from her saying, "I have to get out of here," we had 4 airfare tickets and an apartment rented in Barcelona with less than 6 weeks before we left.

Donald and I took those few, short weeks before leaving to relearn Spanish and memorize everything there is to know about Barcelona. It was an amazing week.

But you got no TR. Sorry.

And I've spent all day today. Yup all day. Well, except for the 3 hours I spent reorganizing my pantry and the 2 hours I spent playing board games with my girls. What was I saying? Oh yeah, I spent ALL day today researching Disneyland. Because.... We bought our airplane tickets today!

But now at the end of an exciting Disneyland planning day I have guilt. Because I've abandoned you all. GUILT!

Last edited by estherhead; 02-11-2012 at 09:12 PM.
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Old 02-11-2012, 08:38 PM   #48
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Checking in:

We checked in to our first night's hotel. It was the Homewood Suites and was infinitely better than our choice the year before (Clarion). In front of me checking in was a single mom with 4 kids all dressed in Disney gear checking in. She asked the guy at the front desk what time Walt Disney World opened. He pointed her to the help desk. It took everything I could to hold myself back from at least telling here there were 4 parks and to start at the one called Magic Kingdom. Stay focused, Perla, stay focused on your own trip.

We got up to our room and we really liked it. It was a full suite, more like an apartment than a suite. I could honestly see on a trip on the cheap just staying there. No magic, mind you, but a big, clean, comfortable room.

We girls settled ourselves into the living room to paint our traditional Mickey fingers. For the life of me I could not get our new nail art pens to work properly so I made the girls do their own nails as we were running out of time and my nails were still wet. This did NOT make Mulan happy and she was very bummed with me when we left at 5:00 p.m.

I packed a giant bag and followed Mapquest on a wild goose chase back way to the Poly. It actually was a shortcut. We had all agreed we would treat ourselves and use valet parking. But when we actually got there we all chickened out and just parked ourselves. We are very low class. Sorry.

Oh how I love the Poly. Blissful sigh.




We stood blissfully by the waterfall listening to the guy play his ukelele. Donald (our personal valet) was there in no time and we went and put our name in at the Kona cafe. We had made our ADR for the very first time you can so when we put our name in there was literally not a soul in the place and we were the first ones there. But they still gave us a buzzer, which went off within 30 seconds without the hostess moving at all. This cracked up Emmy beyond belief. It was her first taste of WDW bureaucracy.

We were seated:


I like these big round tables at the Poly. This is roughly where we were seated last time. Emmy pulled out a cute little dice game that she had brought and we all played. Mulan won and suddenly she was in a good mood again. Next to us sat an adorable black family with adorable little girls who had: the same pink antenae as Emmy. She totally (like a stalker) watched those girls trying to figure out how she could do her hair like theirs as it was really cute and she would have looked awesome in it. She never did figure it out no matter how hard she tried that week.

Suzy's table:


Yum!


This bread is the bomb! But honestly, I wasn't a fan of the Lapu Lapu pineapple drink. It looks all nice and glitzy so I got one. But it wasn't my thing.

Donald enjoyed this, I was thinking he wouldn't as he doesn't like curry. But I guess if you add scallops to curry, it's good.


Donald and I got the Pan Asian noodles. Mulan and Ariel split the steak.


The girls loved their steak and I thought the noodles were good. Donald kept saying he wished he was at O'hana. I kept mentally reminding myself to not care about his never liking anywhere we eat at WDW issues until the NEXT year when that restaurant was the best ever. Except for Primetime which, yeah, that one was unanimous and never really gets bumped up mentally for us.



I got this last time and Emmy got it this time. Last time I thought it was too sweet but this time the sauce was much less which made it delicious.

Boo had to go potty so I took her and when I came back my food was gone. I swear. I have more problems getting full at WDW than anywhere on earth. We got our desserts which we have no photos of, of course. Those went quickly. Yummy! And then we used the lovely bathrooms near O'hana again and it was time to go to the main attraction: the beach.

But BEFORE that happened, there was mad, chaotic MK talk. Some people had AP's burning in their pockets and wanted to go to MK. I'll be honest. This annoyed me. It made my one totally chill night stressful. We were supposed to be just chilling out, relaxing in the sand, laughing and drinking. We weren't supposed to be "Should we mad dash to WDW? Should we frantically race around?" Seriously? Then this kid couldn't decide and that kid couldn't.

But finally Suzy prevailed in her insane mania and she, Buzz, Ariel, and McQueen hopped on the next boat.

I did not.





Our kids were having a grand time and we were very chill, getting our trip off to a good start.



Sadly, those sand toys caused some major problems as no other kids on this beach had any toys. Why is that? They sell sand toys at the Poly for not that much money. Why, if you stay at the Poly with small kids would you not buy them some $10.00 toys. Poly parents? Any answers?

Regardless, we soon had a gaggle of toddlers playing with our toys. Not only did Jack and Boo struggle to share (they did pretty good) but there was a whole little sand toy fight between toddlers over toys that didn't even belong to them. There were troubles. I mean really, how far can 10 little sand toys go?

Charming said he was going to take a little nap:


Looks comfy, doesn't he? But do NOT be fooled he was NOT napping.

The view:



Hmmm? Raise of hands: who believes Charming was "napping?"

It was VERY shortly after the girls moved on from Volleyball that Charming was "awake" and ready for a football game:


Emmy, Mulan, and I went shopping in the Poly and looked at the little art shop. It's so wonderful. And enjoying it without many kids was delightful. I also bought a blue Mickey clip which, no big surprise, Suzy bought the same thing! We really are twins.

Here they are coming back from MK and I'm pretty sure that little bag is carrying a blue Mickey hair clip:


People who wear matching t-shirts shouldn't complain about matching hair clips but seriously of ALL the hair stuff in ALL of WDW, how could we buy the same one?

Back at the beach I got a schedule of evening activities and MaiTai (much better than Lapu Lapu and it's easier to carry!)

And then it was dark and time for my favorite WDW activity:


They also were showing Gnomeo and Juliet on the big screen. I took the kids over there to watch:


OMG!!!!! This movie was stupid. I could hardly stand it for the 20 min I watched. Just awful. Buzz and I started fighting as we were kind of in these people's cabana area. I mean, we were outside it but still it's just a piece of fabric between us and them so he and I were kind of fighting about his noise level. He can make this noise that is loud. And for some unknown reason he just kept doing it. Also, he kept leaning on their cabana. I kept moving him and every time I would turn around he was back behind us all leaning on that cabana. Which then would go in and touch the people inside the cabana! Horrifying! So I was trying to get him to stop doing that and made him cry, which did not improve the situation because he was loudly crying and then we were suddenly distracting everyone, not just the cabana people and while THAT was happening Boo wandered off. On a very dark and very crowded beach.

She got in REALLY big trouble. In reality I'm pretty sure she was just walking back to her dad who was saving fireworks seats for us. But still, you're 4. You need to tell the parent you are currently with where you are going.

At this point in my notes it says, "McQueen got cleaned off." Hmmm... why don't I remember this well? I think perhaps while we were screaming up and down the beach for Boo he may have fallen and got all muddy? Suzy, do you know?

Wishes began and the music on the beach was a little too soft for me, I am deaf after all.



I didn't tear up this time. I would save those tears for my Main Street Castle view. But Boo enjoyed it which made me happy as it was the first time she truly enjoyed Disney fireworks instead of tolerating them (barely).

We packed up our stuff, leaving a few sand toys behind for the neglected toddlers, and headed to the vans. Only to realize we now didn't have Emmy. Again, it was PITCH dark. Donald and Gavin, who together can be quite loud, yelled her name at the top of their lungs. If you were here this night, I'm sorry. We were tired of losing people in this very dark beach. Whew. She was found.

I think she and Boo were pretty frazzled from the final 45 minutes or so of being lost and she carried Boo to the van. Boo weighs a lot.

In the end, it was a successful kick off to our WDW trip. But only had relaxing highlights versus a full relaxing night.

Last edited by estherhead; 02-12-2012 at 01:07 PM.
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Old 02-11-2012, 08:41 PM   #49
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6 weeks in Barcelona? I'm so jealous! I spent a day there before my Med cruise and fell in love. I'm also jealous of being able to take 6 weeks of vacation....maybe I can after I win Powerball tonight.

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Old 02-11-2012, 08:50 PM   #50
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Did you guys notice the cabana people in that photo have sand toys? See? It's not that hard.
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Old 02-11-2012, 09:11 PM   #51
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jedijill View Post
6 weeks in Barcelona? I'm so jealous! I spent a day there before my Med cruise and fell in love. I'm also jealous of being able to take 6 weeks of vacation....maybe I can after I win Powerball tonight.

Jill in CO
Uh-oh, I must not have been clear. It was only one week in Barcelona, it was 6 weeks from the time of booking to leaving.

But just the same, one week in Barcelona was pure bliss. Donald and I came back actually changed from stressed parents to a happy, calm couple. We fell in with the city and each other, all over again.

But more importantly: Mediterranean cruise???? Jealous!
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Old 02-11-2012, 09:32 PM   #52
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Originally Posted by estherhead View Post
Uh-oh, I must not have been clear. It was only one week in Barcelona, it was 6 weeks from the time of booking to leaving.

But just the same, one week in Barcelona was pure bliss. Donald and I came back actually changed from stressed parents to a happy, calm couple. We fell in with the city and each other, all over again.

But more importantly: Mediterranean cruise???? Jealous!
Ooops, probably read it wrong!

I did the 11 night Med on DCL in 2010 and got a screaming deal...$999 for Cat 12 GTY. Ended up getting upgraded to a Cat V. With single supplement, my cruise cost $1300 plus the $1200 flight. I booked in late Feb/early March for the May 15th cruise so I know about not a lot of time to plan.

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Old 02-11-2012, 09:55 PM   #53
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Originally Posted by estherhead View Post

But BEFORE that happened, there was mad, chaotic MK talk. Some people had AP's burning in their pockets and wanted to go to MK. I'll be honest. This annoyed me. It made my one totally chill night stressful. We were supposed to be just chilling out, relaxing in the sand, laughing and drinking. We weren't supposed to be "Should we mad dash to WDW? Should we frantically race around?" Seriously? Then this kid couldn't decide and that kid couldn't.

But finally Suzy prevailed in her insane mania and she, Buzz, Ariel, and McQueen hopped on the next boat.
I know this wasn't the plan. BUT I had Annual Passes which meant access without "costing me anything" and I could SEE the castle . I could SEE it. And it was a short boat ride away. And we had a couple hours before the fireworks. So I had to go. I know some of the kids were torn (sorry Mulan), but honestly, I would have gone by myself. (and yes I'm aware I may need therapy for my Disney problem). So, after a little discussion, Buzz, McQueen, Ariel, and I were on our way. I can not explain the excitement we all had walking down mainstreet that evening. It was like a stolen moment at MK . I honestly don't remember what all we rode. For sure we rode POC and maybe BTMMR. It was a great time for just the 4 of us.
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Old 02-11-2012, 10:03 PM   #54
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OMG!!!!! This movie was stupid. I could hardly stand it for the 20 min I watched. Just awful. Buzz and I started fighting as we were kind of in these people's cabana area. I mean, we were outside it but still it's just a piece of fabric between us and them so he and I were kind of fighting about his noise level. He can make this noise that is loud. And for some unknown reason he just kept doing it. Also, he kept leaning on their cabana. I kept moving him and every time I would turn around he was back behind us all leaning on that cabana. Which then would go in and touch the people inside the cabana! Horrifying! So I was trying to get him to stop doing that and made him cry, which did not improve the situation because he was loudly crying and then we were suddenly distracting everyone, not just the cabana people
I have to defend poor Buzz here for a minute. Not that he is not a handful to control in a crowd situation. And if you've followed our TR's before, you'll know that this was not Perla and Buzz's first difficulty with controlling Buzz's Asperger's "personal space" issues. However, Perla, you do realize you have 7 children sharing ONE beach chair Even for a child who is able to control their own body and not intrude in other's space, it would be challenging to sit on that chair.
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Old 02-11-2012, 10:26 PM   #55
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Great to see you back! Nice update! LOL about the hair clips!
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Old 02-11-2012, 10:35 PM   #56
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So glad you are back to finish your TR. Spain sounds wonderful.
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Old 02-11-2012, 11:16 PM   #57
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Old 02-12-2012, 07:56 AM   #58
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Originally Posted by houseful of boys View Post
I know this wasn't the plan. BUT I had Annual Passes which meant access without "costing me anything" and I could SEE the castle . I could SEE it. And it was a short boat ride away. And we had a couple hours before the fireworks. So I had to go. I know some of the kids were torn (sorry Mulan), but honestly, I would have gone by myself. (and yes I'm aware I may need therapy for my Disney problem). So, after a little discussion, Buzz, McQueen, Ariel, and I were on our way. I can not explain the excitement we all had walking down mainstreet that evening. It was like a stolen moment at MK . I honestly don't remember what all we rode. For sure we rode POC and maybe BTMMR. It was a great time for just the 4 of us.
You are obsessed.

Quote:
Originally Posted by houseful of boys View Post
I have to defend poor Buzz here for a minute. Not that he is not a handful to control in a crowd situation. And if you've followed our TR's before, you'll know that this was not Perla and Buzz's first difficulty with controlling Buzz's Asperger's "personal space" issues. However, Perla, you do realize you have 7 children sharing ONE beach chair Even for a child who is able to control their own body and not intrude in other's space, it would be challenging to sit on that chair.
Which again, I must blame on the children themselves. I didn't originally walk over there with 7 kids. They came over slowly & didn't make their own seating arrangements nor would they sit on the sand. No. They just kept sitting on a tiny chair. And really, Buzz's & my fight was extremely typical and wouldn't have made my notes if Boo hadn't wandered off. Boo was the one in big trouble.

That's really the problem with one adult in charge of 7 kids on a crowded, dark beach. Kids wandering off.

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Great to see you back! Nice update! LOL about the hair clips!
Thanks. I've uploaded more pics and am hoping to FINALLY get moving on this TR.

Quote:
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So glad you are back to finish your TR. Spain sounds wonderful.
If I get the chance, I'll share a few photos with you all.

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Old 02-12-2012, 12:58 PM   #59
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Day One, the REAL first day of our last week of our Year of Magic:

At 6:15 am I woke up. And I was instantly fully awake. I was at Disney World. And because I was awake I wanted everyone to be awake as we needed to be eating breakfast by 7:15 & in the vehicles by 8:00 for the 9:00 rope drop. And we had to pack up the vans since we were moving to the Disneylicious house this day.

You can call me evil, if you'd like. You can even call me an evil stepmother. Some people have. But at 6:15 am my one goal was to insist that everyone was awake.

So I threw open all the curtains to let the sunshine in. And not a soul moved. I then I made a bunch of noise. Packed. Flushed the toilet. Packed away the fingernail polish bin which is very loud. And no one budged.

I then did the only thing I could do. I told them they all had to get up as they only had 30 minutes to get ready. And I, while she was still sleeping, dressed Boo and did her hair with her new hair tyes I had bought at DTD.

Shockingly, we were dressed and at breakfast by 7:15. And we looked pretty put together. And to congratulate us for a job well done were these little guys:


That's right! Mickey waffles at the hotel. Which, by the way, since I was telling you how awesome it was, I really should tell you that it was actually the Homewood Suites. Not Doubletree. That's right. I'm gonna edited it above but for those of you reading these as I write them, mentally correct that. (thanks Suzy) The Homewood Suites on Marbella Palm Court had large apartment sized suite rooms with full sized fridges, free parking, close to the entrance to WDW AND we discovered at the free included breakfast: Mickey waffles. Not too shabby.

Boo arranged the sausage in the Mickey. Ever since the Mickey empanadas, she has been all over arranging things in Mickey shapes.



I only had a yogurt as I'm not really a waffle person. I know, I should make an exception since these waffles were in the shape of my beloved Mickey, but waffles and syrup first thing in the morning are not a good idea for my tummy and I like to be on my A game day one of Disney.

As I was watching Suzy make McQueen a waffle (not sure why this was a big event, but I wrote it down and with their hotel free breakfast history, I'm sure it was a big thing) and eating my yogurt a family came in in matching Disney shirts. A big family. In cool matching shirts. And they, too, were going to MK. Darn it. I kept an eye out for my single, WDW-clueless mom with her 4 kids. But they, naturally, were not up & eating breakfast at 7:30 a.m.

By 8:00 am we were back in our rooms getting our bags and by 8:15 we were at the vans applying sunblock. We did much better at the sunblock this trip than in March and as far as I know there were no mishaps. No red eyes, no sunblock meltdowns. In this parking lot there was a sunblock spraying zone and we moms took one kid at a time and sprayed 'em down, eyes shielded, wind blowing the proper way. Suzy and I can be taught.

By 8:20 we were on Disney property. WHY did we have to hit every red light at DTD? We parked and hopped a tram.



It was 8:41. Perfect.

But then we hit a little snag. The monorail is closed. NO!!!! I don't want to take the boat. And not because I don't like the boat. I do. And if the monorail is running I sometimes enjoy starting my WDW week with a peaceful boat ride facing the castle.

But when the monorail is closed than you are forced to be on that ferry with all the clueless people and I just feel like cattle. Moooooo!!!!!! Where is the Mickey ear cow smilie? And it slows you down big time. And though we had 20 minutes, I pretty much knew that thanks to the boat, bag check, and turnstyles, I wouldn't be seeing MK show on this trip.



To add insult to injury, the monorail started running as we were being herded onto the boat. So people who arrived AFTER us got there first and didn't miss the show. Grrrr....

I could hear the train coming as I waited at the boat dock with the other 1,000 cows. I actually think cows are more orderly and better at merging than this group of people were. Jostling and pushing were rampant.

Finally, we were marching to the bag check and I followed Suzy. Thank goodness as she picked an awesome line where the guy was practically waving us through. I unzipped my first bag and he just waved me on. SCORE Suzy! Good choice. We had sent the men with no bags to see the show with the non-stroller kids so they were already in there.

I had a BIG problem at this turnstyle. Boo was in her stroller and I pushed her to the little gate and put my ticket through. The lady told me to go through and then she put Boo's ticket through. At this point, I should have been given Boo. But the CM wouldn't let me. I was in MK. But Boo was not. I walked up to open the gate myself and the CM says, "In a minute." So I stepped back. And seriously, I was not allowed to have my kid. I finally just opened the gate and got her with the CM yelling at me and then finally caving in and getting out of my way. I've never had that happen before and it kind of freaked me out. It was like Boo was in jail. The rest of the week I was conscious of staying with the stroller no matter what at the ticketing area.

By the time Boo was allowed out of turnstyle jail the show was ending and we were allowed in. It was my job to get FP's while the rest headed to Dumbo. So I handed her off and headed down Main St. The same slow mooooooving cattle were ahead of me, but I was now free of the stroller and could book it. It didn't take me long to be ahead of the pack. As I came to where Main St meets the Castle forecourt, Aladdin and Jasmine and Prince Naveen and Tiana were holding hands and slowly walking to their spots. Jasmine towards Adventureland, Tiana towards her little gazebo.

It is seared in my mind as beautiful moment with the castle and the beautiful couples slowly walking. Blissful sigh. Made me tear up and be happy to be at WDW.

But, I had had enough of moseying and people and merging. I saw free and clear asphalt in front of me and so I picked up the pace. And, I must admit, I passed Prince Naveen and Tiana. It surprised them, I'll tell you that. I don't think that happens very often. One crazy woman on a mission ruining their opening of the park.

As I rounded about Liberty Square into deserted Frontierland there was a CM dancing a hoedown all by herself in the middle of the street. She wasn't a performer, she was a sales-CM and was entertaining herself while waiting on customers. I'd say she was 60? Anyway, I loved her hoedown and was really feeling happy to be in my happy place so I hooted out a loud, "YeeeeeHaaaa!" and boot scooted myself for a quick moment. And she said, "Hey, howdy, hey!" Awesome!

First one to get Splash FP, they were for 9:45. As I was leaving another FP runner was also finishing up and joined me on my mad dash to Fantasyland. He said, "Nothing like a mile jog at 9am, is there? But at least we're done for the day. Now we can relax."

Smile and wave, boys, smile and wave. Done? Seriously? I am just beginning my crazy FP collection. And now you all just wait till the FP return times are enforced. We used to follow those return windows and I know a little something about being a nutso FP runner. Done jogging a mile in the summer Florida heat? Hardly.

When I got to Dumbo my family was 2 groups back from riding Dumbo. I sat in the shade near the giant wall currently separating FL from new FL trying to get cool and Pinnochio casually walked by. What time was it? 9:15 am. Dumbo being ridden, Splash FP's collected, 5 characters interacted with, hoedown done. 15 minutes of magic really is a lot of magic. Delightful.





Once Dumbo was done, we headed to Pooh. But Emmy couldn't find her sunglasses and instead of our normal family unit moving quickly and smoothly from ride to ride we came to a screeching halt and looked for sunglasses on Dumbo. Oh no!!! Is this was travelling with Emmy is going to be like? It was shocking how hot it was at 9:30 a.m.

We let the little ones play in the interactive Pooh area while she searched some more. There were tiny pockets of a/c that would reach us from time to time. Sweet, cool air.







We got off Winnie, it was even more enjoyable as a cooling off spot than it normally is, and it was 9:38.





And at 9:39 while Donald and Boo were just extracting themselves from that honey pot, I was already heading back to Frontierland. And it surely was 95 degrees? Maybe 90. With 95% humidity. It was hot.

I hit BTMRR at exactly 9:45. I think I had to wait about 30 seconds and then I had my next set of FP with a 10:25 return.

It was so stinkin' hot that despite it being 9:45 am I decided I needed a Diet Coke. So I stopped at the place with the hoe down lady but I didn't get her window. Instead I got this cute little nerdy guy. I mention the nerdiness, not based on looks, though I do think he was nerdy looking as well, but because when I ordered the diet coke (so wonderfully cold!) he said, "Why are you ordering a Diet Coke?" And I said, "Because I want caffeine and it's hot." And he said, "Actually, coffee, which we sell here, is better at cooling you down than a cold drink." And launched into a scientific explanation on why I should order a coffee. When he was done I saidm "I think I'll still take that Diet Coke." He gave it to me, but with judgement in his heart, I tell you, with judgement in his heart.

When I arrived back, sweating profusely, the family was done with the TeaCups and were starting their Carousel rotation. I know this isn't our normal "time saving" strategy but for this June trip we were not only riding things that would have lines later, we were also trying to pick off rides that would be dreadfully hot later.

What do you think McQueen is telling Emmy in this photo?


McQueen loved having Emmy about. He is a font of Disney information, a true movie history buff. Unlike Buzz who kind of quizzes you on the Disney information, McQueen has inherited his father's natural teaching ability. He doesn't have the skills yet as they are more than likely taught, but the natural ability of taking history and making it live is clearly already there.

Nonetheless, whatever it is he's saying in the above photo, I don't think Emmy is buying it as factual.



Our plan was to ride Snow White for the last time before it was to be destroyed. But it had a 20 minute line and we don't actually like the ride. So we decided to simply skip it. And instead opted for IASW. I didn't care. Just get me into A/C. It takes a lot of activity and a lot of heat for me to sweat. But this morning did it. I was slimy.









Small World was lovely as usual. Cooled me down perfectly.

And we headed to HM. Donald said he'd stay off with Boo so I could ride since in March I'd made the sacrifice.




I leave you there....
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Old 02-12-2012, 03:03 PM   #60
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