OKay, so (1) it's not done yet, and (2) it's later than I wanted. Combination of being sick, and Cub Scout stuff has kept me eithr busy or loopy, and I haven't finished it yet. So, consider it a WIP, and I will add the rest by the weekend. A random and pointless Disney trip report Thursday. Turkey Day. Thanksgiving. Or, put another way - I gave up turkey, mashed potatoes, cranberries, pumpkin pie, and more, for this? Get up early, go for a quick run, get cleaned up, and then it's into the car and off for the fun-filled drive to the airport. A slog through security, and then it's nothing to do but wait, wait, wait in the small throng of people. Now, when you are flying to Orlando, you pretty much have to assume that a sizeable portion of the passengers are heading off to the Shrine of the Mouse, and today was no exception. Lots of cute kids, running around, and almost as many (already) exhausted parents, trying to keep up. Eventually, we get on the plane, and have a fairly uneventful flight (thanks to DWs work computer and a copy of the Cars 2 DVD), and arrive in Orlando, where we proceed to wait in the airport for several hours for DSIL(1) to arrive. Yes, there will be more than one sister on this trip, so I am going to have to number them. Once DSIL(1) is there, we get the rental car, and drive to Cocoa Beach, where we have to wait for a little problem with the room to be resolved. We wanted two beds, but wound up with one and a great ocean view, which is not an adequate substitute when there are three adults and two kids. Friday Originally, this would be the launch day of the Mars Rover, but a battery issue has postponed the launch until tomorrow. So, with no hurry, I get in a run on the beach, and then we let the kids play in the sand and the surf for a bit. Mild tantrums and crankiness ensue, which really should have been a clue. After a while, we go to the Kennedy Space Center. Great fun for me, more or less, but a real mixed bag for the kids. Both kids have some pretty impressive meltdowns, DW spends a bunch of time in line with DSIL(1) trying to get a refund for our paid passes, since DSIL(1) scored us some free ones, a perk of working on the Rover at JPL. The kids got to listen to Bill Nye, the Science Guy - but a lot of it was aimed at the (former) kids who had watched the program a decade ago and were now adult space geeks. They got to play with Legos (which caused one of the meltdowns), sit in replica Mercury and Gemini capsules (another meltdown), and see just how big a Saturn-series rocket really is. (The answer is: very.) Eventually, we called it a day, and drove from Cocoa Beach to POR, where we had rooms for the night. Saturday Up early, because today is the big day. If the weather holds fair, then the Mars Rover is on its way to the red planet. If not, it won't be good until the middle of next week, maybe later. They need at least four nautical miles of visibility (in case they need to detonate the rocket via remote), and low winds. We drive back from POR to Cocoa Beach (more or less), and meet up with a bunch of DSIL(1)s friends from JPL and various space programs. There we sit down to wait. And wait. And wait. We had to get there early, to make sure we had a good spot and everything, but it leaves us with several hours with little to do but wait. I had a cheap pair of binoculars I had thought to pack, so we kept watching the tiny little rocket waaay off in the distance. We got a break from the monotony at some point, when a pod of dolphins showed up and swam around about 60 feet offshore. Eventually, we heard the magic words "Ten. Nine. Eight. . ." and the tiny little line that was a two hundred foot high rocket suddenly flared red at the base. It sat for a long second, and then was up and climbing, leaving a gorgeous white trail blazing across the sky. It was eerily quiet, and the rocket was pretty high up when the sound wave caught up to us, and then you heard the roar of the rocket. We watched it as long as we could, while the JPL people broke out celebratory beverages. Then it was time to pack up, get back in the car, and drive back to Orlando, stopping off at a Target to get some groceries, and then check into OKW. DW took the rental car back, and DSIL(1) and I met up with DSIL(2), her husband, and her two kids. (Keeping track? We're now up to nine people.) While DW is gone, we take all the kids to the main pool at OWK, and kill time until DW gets back. Once she is back, we go to Downtown Disney for dinner, with an obligatory stop at the Lego store. Boat back to OWK, and its bedtime for everyone, although I duck out to run around and explore. (Literally - as in, I put on running shoes, and was out the door.) Sunday Up early, in order to be at MK for rope drop. It had been a long while since we saw the whole "Good Morning" routine, and it was worth the extra sleep. We spent most of the day at MK, getting in a turn on the Speedway, Pooh, some princess time, Pirates, plenty of Photopass pics, and in general having fun. We only stayed at MK until mid-afternoon, because we had to head over to Epcot. Correction, we got to head over to Epcot, for early reservations at Beirgarten. A liter of beer and plenty of food later, I was ready to sit back and enjoy the Candlelight Processional, but DS was not in any such mood, and he spun around, wiggled, fidgeted, and generally made it hard for me to listen to the music. Fortunately, DW was farther away from him, and she did not notice his behavior at all. Of course, once you have stayed for the CP, you might as well stay for Illuminations, and since the CP & ADR gave us what is laughingly called VIP seating, we sat in one of the designated areas, where we enjoyed a view of the trees, until the fireworks began. Then, we enjoyed a view of the firework show, viewed through the trees, which is not nearly as impressive as you might think. Definitely not as nice as my normal perch near the UK pavilion. Monday Animal Kingdom day. The long days were catching up with the kids, so we got to AK a little later than originally planned. We got in a show of Festival of the Lion King (of course), and a long play session at the Boneyard. Once we could pry the kids loose from that, a few of us split off to go ride Kali, which turned out to be a wise move once the rain started. (After the ride, we were already wet, naturally enough, so a little more from the rain was not a big deal.) We left earlier than planned, mainly because of the rain, but we did not plan on doing everything, since we had a late start, and the boyfriend of DSIL(1) was arriving. So, most of the group heads back to the hotel to get dried off and changed, and to collect number 10 for our little group. Everyone then heads to rendevous at Epcot (I've said it before and I will say it again - hooray for park hoppers!), where we get in a spin on Test Track before dinner, and then hit Soarin' afterwards, which had an amazingly short line. Part of the group goes through Soarin' again (baby swap), while the remainder split into two groups - the larger waiting on the people who are in Soarin' again, and the smaller group heads off to the Seas. Once everyone in the Soarin' area meets up, we all head over to meet the advance guard who went to the Seas. A quick zip through Finding Nemo, and then it's wander around the giant aquarium area, with some nice photopass pics and some general goofing off. Most of the group is tired, and wants to call it a day, but the two dads each take one of the older kids through the last show of Turtle Talk. DS gets called on (as "the little dude in the yellow shell"), and gets lots of interaction with the Crush-man. Which leads to me getting interaction with the Crush-man too. Once crush is done, we beat feet for World Showcase. DS insists on doing the Mexico ride, which fortunately has no line, because we get out and realize that we only have a few minutes to get over to France for pastries before they close up for Illuminations. We make it with only seconds to spare, and both kids order more food than they can eat, which means (sigh) that I have to eat extra pastries. Oh no - more creme brulee and cheesecake? Quel horror! We stick around for Illuminations, and then split for the hotel. Fortunately, the two kids were more or less awake when we got off the bus, because I really did not want to carry mine back to the room. I love OKW - it's nice, and quiet, and incredibly relaxing - and the closest bus stop is always several hundred yards from your room, it seems.