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Old 03-03-2013, 02:59 PM   #46
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Soarin' Over Test Track: No, Not really

[COLOR="Blue"]We dressed J the next morning in her purple travel pants under her new Minnie dress and the new lighter weight Minnie jacket Queen M had had the foresight to buy the day before. She looked kind of like a polka-dotted optical illusion --it made you dizzy to look at her for too long. But we were heading to Epcot and had to get a move on before Soarin' got too crowded!

Imagine the coat with the Minnie dress!

Soarin' is a little like Niagara Falls to me. I'm not scared of being up high for myself, but I'm a little worried that J might somehow manage to fall off the ride. I really love Soarin'; it's probably my favorite ride. But worrying about J kind of takes some of the fun out of it.

She won't let you hold onto her in any way, though. I do try and sneak my hand around and hang onto the side or back of her coat, though I'm sure if she actually fell off of Soarin', she'd probably fall out of the coat, too.

We caught the monorail at the Contemporary for the short ride to the TTC and the monorail change, but not without some confusion. The monorail entrance at the Contemporary is by far the most confusing entrance in all of Disney. The monorail is a floor up from the main concourse, and if you have a stroller (and you KNOW we do), you have to take the elevator.

But there are two doors to the elevator and we're never sure which one to go in and out of, since they end up in different places.

We were as confused as ever getting off the elevator and went and stood at the end of a long line. But after us, the CMs started directing people down the next row. We weren't worried, because we assumed --and you know what happens when you do that-- that they would let all the people in the first row on the monorail before letting all the people who came after us in the second line on.

That didn't happen. They opened both lines at the same time, so that all the people who came after us but who were standing closer to the monorail entrance got on first. I was a little ticked. I told M just to keep looking for some room, because we were getting on the monorail no matter what. It was only one stop, so I didn't care how crowded we were, as long as we got on.

We changed monorails at the TTC, after stopping to say hello to our favorite CM at the ticketing booth no, not really and were at Epcot in no time. I know its not possible, but it seems like the ride to Epcot used to be much longer. Maybe the monorails now go faster than 28 miles an hour on the highway in the sky.

We made our way past the monoliths --when, oh when are they going to move these ugly things?? -- and up to the gates, where I picked the longest line for the bag check and M picked the longest line for getting in. Between the two of us, we made sure it took the absolute maximum amount of time to get through the gate. J was tired and holding Lamby, so there was plenty of conversation directed at Lamby's welfare all the way into the park.

I ran ahead with J at The Land while Queen M parked the stroller and got Fastpasses. Lamby stayed behind in the bottom of the stroller; we're not crazy enough to let him experience Soarin'. J was clutching some other animal she's currently fond of, probably Swan. J has no imagination whatsoever when it comes to naming her friends.

Queen M caught up with us and we made it through the line fairly quickly. No one fell off and J remembered that she doesn't like the fireworks boom at the end and covered her ears hid her face in M's coat for that part.

Our fastpasses weren't good for another 40 minutes so rather than hang around, we took a journey into our imagination. J liked it, but the pavilion after the ride is a sorry remnant of its former self. My kids loved that area when they were little, and now it wasn't even worth bothering with. Change isn't always a good thing at Disney.

I thought we probably had time to see Captain Eo before we returned to Soarin'. M couldn't WAIT to see this again; she loved it as a kid. J wasn't so thrilled with the evil queen, though, and M didn't think was still quite the bomb, but it was good nostalgia. It was surprisingly crowded, so I guess nostalgia still sells. Or people just don't know any better.

After we did Soarin' again, we hit the popcorn stand, M hit the DSA and we tried to talk J into going in The Seas. She loved this pavilion in August and spent a ton of time watching the dolphins; one of them even played ball with her, but we got nowhere.

"J, do you want to play ball with the Dolphins" -- she calls them doliphants ---"again?"

No thanks.

"How about the Nemo ride?" One of her favorites the year before.
No, thanks.

"Turtle Talk with Crush?"

No thanks.

Wow, we just eliminated an entire pavilion Having conquered this side of the park, we passed through one of the Innoventions and stopped and did a few things, like put puzzle pieces in slots. Way below J's abilities, but she seemed to enjoy it, and Lamby got to come out of the dungeon for a while and look around and help with the puzzle.

We thought about Ellen, but a 45 minute time commitment was more than we wanted to give her. So I got fastpasses instead for Test Track and we backtracked to the Character Meet and Greet. It was rather difficult to find.

They're remodeling the main part, so we walked towards the back --there were no signs anywhere telling you where to go -- and right into a group of people with nametags on, dressed in business suites and nice shoes. We milled around behind them for a few minutes, thinking it a little odd that they all wanted to meet the characters, but nothing is that surprising at Disney. After a few minutes, we realized they were getting some sort of tour that had nothing to do with the characters at all. Maybe they were the architects. So we bypassed them and finally found the character line.

If you've seen one character meet and greet, you've pretty much seen them all, so I won't bore you with the details. As seems to be the norm these days, there was one family who just didn't get the concept of waiting in line and would wander over to the next character as soon as they finished with one. Every time. And every time the CM would have to make them go pull their child out of someone else's picture. Every time.

But we were happy enough just to be there, seeing Minnie while J was wearing her Minnie optical illusion outfit. It was warming up so she took off the purple pants and the coat for her pictures. The fashion improvement was amazing. Purple and red really don't go together, no matter what anyone thinks. And once we had the fab five captured on film and in the autograph book, we were off to something new and different for J: Test Track![/COLOR

Next chapter

Last edited by appleorchard; 03-28-2013 at 05:55 PM. Reason: too many to mention!
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Old 03-04-2013, 11:00 PM   #47
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Test Track--It's the New Bomb-Diggity

I really wasn't expecting Test Track to become J's new favorite ride.

I mean, she does have the need for speed. She's always telling M or me to drive faster, not that either one of us really needs the encouragement. But I figured Test Track for a one-off, one and done. Surprise, surprise.

I think it might have been the car design that really won her over. Getting to design a car in her case, a truck with jazzy decals and big wheels really didn't seem like something she was going to flip over, but she did. If we could have stayed in there all day designing vehicles, she would have been perfectly happy. It seemed like we could have done this just as well sitting at the kitchen table with a box of crayons, but there's something to be said for a computer doing all the artwork for you, I guess.

So after we did Test Track with a Fastpass, we did it again without one. M perfected the art of blowing kisses at the camera at the exact time it snapped our picture. I couldn't even figure out which direction to look, even though she kept telling me. One time it looked like I was rummaging around on the car floor for something I dropped, and the next time I was looking down sedately like I was on my way to church. Woo hoo.

I took the cheapo picture of the picture, just so I could show everyone how good M was at looking right at the camera compared to me. J was too short to even be seen over the top of the seat in front of her.

Going through without a fastpass doesn't seem to give you as much time at the drawing boards as going through without one, unfortunately, so once J realized that, we were doomed to riding in the standby line each time for the rest of the trip.

Then she wanted to play in all the new cars after the ride. I don't understand the appeal to this; we have cars at home she can sit in if she wants. I guess we don't usually let her pretend to drive them.

But this turned into a major problem when we got to the fancy yellow sports car where you could have your picture taken -- I think it was a Corvette, but I was too traumatized to remember by the time we got out of there.

I consider both Queen M and I to be reasonably bright people under normal circumstances. But for some reason, the system for getting your picture taken with this car completely defeated us. It went something like this:

"I want to take a picture with that yellow car!" J yells as she bypasses the line and runs up to the front of the car, where other people are having their picture taken.

Yes, just like the clueless people at the character meet and greet. This is why I've learned over the years never to criticize anyone else's children or parenting techniques.

Me: "There's a line, J, get out of their picture."

Queen M: "We need our passes for it."

Me: "What passes?"

Her: "The ones we used to design our cars. It says to put them in the machine."

Me: "What machine? Why?"

Well, suffice it to say we never got this right. Two guys in front of us tried to explain what you were supposed to do men love explaining things to Queen M. But English wasn't their first language, although they were certainly doing better in it than we were.

Maybe it was like emailing a picture home to your friends, maybe it was just something designed by the CMs to amuse themselves with, watching people make utter fools out of themselves in the slow times. Well probably never know, because we just didn't get it.

You had to input something into a machine, for what purpose I don't know. And J was having a mini-fit, wanting to get the picture right then, trying to squeeze under the rope, showing all the signs of needing a nap or a severe talking-to.

We finally gave up and figured wed try again some other day. By that time, the guy taking the pictures had given up waiting for us to figure it out and gone on his break anyway. We got J out of there using our best parent and grandparenting technique: bribery. We promised her a few hours at the pool. It seemed almost warm enough to chance it. Ha.

We did get a picture a few days later, when there was no one around. We just walked up to the car, pretended like we knew what we were doing and took it! Yes, J is wearing purple and red together again.

Next chapter

Last edited by appleorchard; 03-28-2013 at 12:01 AM.
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Old 03-07-2013, 07:52 PM   #48
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Watching Both the Electric Light Parades

Queen M and J went down to the pool by themselves, because I had to go over to Fantasia and buy J some appropriate clothing, as in, some long pants. Not that I missed anything. Suffice it to say it was not warm enough to swim, at least not for anyone over the age of 10.

By the time I got down to the pool, Queen M and J had thrown in the towel already--or more like, thrown on the towels, in M's case. But they weren't willing to give up on poolside fun, because they'd been corralled by the hyper-enthusiastic pool people--you know, the young and generally fun CMs who force people to play games vaguely related to the water.

J loves these games -- I don't think I've mentioned how incredibly competitive she is. She likes them best when shes winning, of course. And there were so few kids near the pool that it was pretty easy to haul in the loot, so she didn't want to give up while there were still plastic animals to be gotten.

The BLT pool has a fatal flaw, at least in the winter months. It's mostly in the shade in the afternoon, which makes it miserable if its not warm out. When J turned blue, we forced her back into the building so we could get ready for the evening festivities -- the Electric Light Parade.

This parade is high on J's list of favorite things. I'm a Spectro girl myself, but this parade has grown on me, or re-grown, since we first saw it sometime in the early 90s, I think. We must have done a few rides J has a new love for Pirates of the Caribbean and Cap'n Jack, which we naturally reinforce at every opportunity. J was quite fascinated with the mermaid skeleton, sort of a gruesome thing to capture a five-year-old's attention, but we assured her that it wasn't Ariel or any of her sisters.

But we got ourselves in the parade fairly early, since there were only two this week and we weren't sure wed make the second one --although we did, of course. Like many other people in the know, we headed for Frontierland and found a seat on the wooden sidewalk, close enough to the rope that no one could squeeze in front of us. Because we were close to Pecos Bills, it won our vote for dinner.

Since M had to get the food and bring it out in relays, we had to save her spot against all comers, which is such as stressful experience that I don't know why we put ourselves through it. For a parade. That we've seen a dozen times. It goes like this.

Have J sit or stand near the rope. Put M's backpack down in what will be her spot. Move the stroller down near the rope.

Shift the stroller sideways, so it takes up a little more room.

Worry about having to stand up off the sidewalk, for fear that someone will grab that spot, since I'm now standing.

Help M with the food. Put my purse down to save my spot.

Keeping looking backward at my purse to make sure no one steals it or my spot.

Give everyone who walks slowly by in the front of the rope eyeing our space a dirty look.

Worry about someone taking my space when I throw my trash in the garbage can.

Turn the stroller a little more sideways as it gets more crowded and people start to squeeze us in.

Move the stroller back onto the sidewalk to let a nice family with little kids stand next to us, since it appears J wont ever sit in it.

Watching the parade is exhausting.

And the worst part is, it never does any good at all. Someone always manages to squeeze behind us and slowly work their way up to the point that they can get their hand-- the one holding the camcorder-- directly in front of one of our faces as we look down the street.

And they always film the entire parade.

This woman added a new twist, though. She was filming her kids, who were across the street, sitting with some other relatives. I know this because the kids kept running across the street to talk to her before the parade began.
Actually, it was pretty clever. She got great footage of her kids faces during the parade because she could actually see them. I, on the other hand, got lousy pictures of J because I was standing too close to her to get any more than a picture of one nostril, or the top of her head.

I don't know why we watched the parade lying on our sides. Possibly I was standing at a weird angle actually trying to capture J's face.

Next time I'll stand across the street. Maybe.

The parade was worth it; it usually is, at least for J, because she's extremely animated and gets lots of attention from the characters. She also has a mother who's willing to bellow,

"CINDERELLA!" at the top of her lungs to get a character to look our way.

I'm sure we caught some of Wishes after the parade, but I can't remember where we were. I do know that we made it home to BLT in time to catch the other Electric Light parade on Bay Lake, and that it was actually a longer show than the one M and I guiltily watched the night before.

J still remembered the order of the floats from August and enjoyed telling every person sitting on their BLT balcony what was coming next at the top of her lungs. She also enjoyed commenting on all the people she could see in their rooms and what they were doing. Fortunately, no one was doing anything unspeakable, but a word to the wise: the horseshoe design of the back end of BLT means that everyone can see in your room at night. Close your drapes!

So we closed ours, and waited for J to decide where she was going to sleep. Luckily for me, M was chosen for a night of being kicked, rolled over, and pushed to the far end of the bed. Sweet dreams!

Next chapter

Last edited by appleorchard; 03-28-2013 at 12:12 AM.
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Old 03-07-2013, 11:57 PM   #49
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Anybody still out there? Hello? Hello??
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Old 03-08-2013, 12:32 AM   #50
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Originally Posted by appleorchard
Anybody still out there? Hello? Hello??
Yes yes yes
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Old 03-08-2013, 12:42 AM   #51
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I'm here. Love your writing style, your sense of humor is what keeps me coming back.

Can't wait to see what y'all do next. You need some better pictures of yourself in here.
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Old 03-08-2013, 12:58 AM   #52
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I'm here, too - reading every word!
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Old 03-08-2013, 08:31 AM   #53
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Oh, good! I can keep going, then lol. Glad to see you all.
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Old 03-08-2013, 09:40 AM   #54
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I am still reading along!
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Planning our next trip...
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Old 03-08-2013, 09:46 AM   #55
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Great pics! Enjoying following along!
For the love of Disney...
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Old 03-08-2013, 09:55 AM   #56
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I'm in.
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Old 03-08-2013, 09:57 AM   #57
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Originally Posted by Millie12591 View Post
I'm here. Love your writing style, your sense of humor is what keeps me coming back.

Can't wait to see what y'all do next. You need some better pictures of yourself in here.
Oh, you know how that goes--the person taking all the pictures is never in any of them lol
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Old 03-08-2013, 04:19 PM   #58
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Still here and loving everying minute of it!

So true about the "monoliths"; they can seriously go!

I know you're convinced J's outfit is seizure-inducing , but she looks so cute. I just love the picture of her with Minnie - just perfect.

Your "cheapo" picture on TT is great too. That's fantastic that J loved the ride. Sometimes, I get the nerve up to take a cheapo picture or two. Because they never say anything at Disney, so I did the same at Great Escape. The second I clicked, the attendant screamed "WHO TOOK THAT PICTURE?" Of course the 3 deep crowd all turns around so I immediately fessed up with "I did!" (like whaaat?) Wish I could have beamed out of there fast!

Anyway, the exchanges between you and J are priceless. She is too funny! Thanks for the great updates and please keep them coming.
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Old 03-08-2013, 04:24 PM   #59
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I just recently got brave enough to take pictures of the pictures-- I have a great one of my son-in-law and I on Buzz last year but he'd kill me if I posted it lol. He's got the most focused look on his face, you'd think he really did believe he was saving the world! Of course, I don't look much better. We're just a competitive group!

I never realized how many days J wore red and purple together until I started posting pictures! I don't know what's wrong with our fashion sense, well, I do-- I have none and M is adopted from Korea and still retains some of her inherited color sense!
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Old 03-08-2013, 04:56 PM   #60
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Today is our YES day, using the tickets we had to fight so hard for to get a behind the scenes look at Disney. Only Queen M and J are doing this; I'm going to watch CoP without any snide commentary from people who don't understand and love it like I do. I might even go in a store and NOT look at pants for J, toys for J, snack for Queen M or stuffed animals as new friends for Lamby. I'll look at stuff grandma likes instead.

We decided to go all at the same time to be at the MK by 8:15, even though I'd have to wait to get in. I guess I'm overprotective. I worried about Queen M not being able to find her way down the walking path to the front of the MK without me. To meet her group in front of the flower display.

The flower display. This seemed pretty straightforward. Where is there a flower display in front of the MK? You really cant miss it; its humungous. So we passed through the ticket gates and stood in front of the flower display. The big one. In the front.

We waited. We went up to everyone else standing in front of the flower display and asked if they were waiting for How Things Move. No one was. The clock kept ticking and it was perilously close to 8:15. Visions of Disney charging my credit card full price for the tickets because we didn't show up danced through my head.

I checked the paperwork again. In front of the flower display. In black and white.

This is what I consider the flower display in front of the MK, although of course we weren't there during this season. The bed contained actual flowers.

Finally, we came to our senses and asked a cast member. We were not at all surprised to find out that she had no idea where we were to meet our group. She went and got someone else, who also didn't know. She did have an idea, though.

"There's a supervisor who does all the groups down at the end," she said, pointing to a point as far away as possible from where we were standing.

When we finally got there, the woman-who-knows-all about the YES program was trying to juggle several groups of teenagers from foreign countries as well as a group of Asian business people with large cameras.

We seemed like pretty small potatoes compared to all the stuff she was handling, but I didn't want that credit card charged, and besides, I have an overly developed sense of guilt about doing things wrong, so I asked again.

When the answer was, In front of the flower display again, I finally lost my patience and asked her, or someone, to physically show us EXACTLY where this spot might be.

And she took us out of the gates, back to a point before you go through the ticket turnstiles.

Right here, she said, stopping in front of a tiny little flower display,comparatively speaking, that was thronged by people and their children there for the YES program.

So we made it. We were the last ones there. I know this because the woman in charge knew our names instantly.

But I couldn't accept that she actually knew what she was doing, because all the kids J's size were in another group and our group was all kids closer to 8. J was by far the smallest and, since she had pulled down the netting over her stroller and curled up in a ball at the back of, the least visible.

J showing untamed enthusiasm about the YES program. Yes, she's wearing purple and red again!

The woman assured me J was in the right group and I gladly watched them pass through the turnstile again while I collapsed near the flower bed the REAL flower bed to wait for the opening show to start.

Next chapter

Last edited by appleorchard; 03-28-2013 at 12:00 AM. Reason: I keep forgetting things!
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