Orlando, Day Two

More Day One Photos

Day Two

Our first full day in Orlando ended in the hotel pool with a moonlit family swim, and a little white lie about it being midnight when we finally convinced the kids to get out and get to bed. It was, in fact, ten o’clock which is a full two hours past their bedtime. They protested a little, but once they were tucked in, they were completely out.

The grown ups enjoyed some late night snacks and some Olympics on the hotel television. We don’t have cable at home, so it was novel to have TV, and I forgot how much I enjoy the Olympic coverage. I slept like a log, much better than the first night, where I think I got a total of three hours after trying in vain to share a bed with a twitchy eight-year-old.

In the morning we woke up slowly and headed to the hotel restaurant for breakfast on the patio. The food at the hotel was decent. Not bad, not great. We got a sweet ass discount though, so I won’t complain. With breakfast in our bellies we wandered the grounds until we found the other kid-friendly pool – a smaller one that contained a pirate ship playground. The ship spouted water and had a small slide, so it was just right for A, who incidentally decided to liberate herself from her water wings once and for all on this trip. H took great delight in playing thousands of pool games (including ‘dive for my watch’ with Daddy who is some kind of super hero when it comes to his relentless energy). Mamma S and I had a splash or two and then enjoyed lounging – she with her Suduko and I with my book. (Oh, my book! It definitely bears mention. A gift from my wonderful friend who works for a major Canadian book retailer, ‘tiny beautiful things’ was devoured by me on this vacation. It’s a compilation of published advice column entries called ‘Dear Sugar’ and Sugar is in fact author Cheryl Strayed. Oh how I love this book.) We also armed ourselves with virgin Pina Coladas.

Pool side fun began to subside for me as I started to fret about when we would leave for day two of Disney. It seems I have a real problem with relaxing and chilling the eff out. I watched our kids with fascination amazed at how they lived in each and every moment, wondering how I too was once capable of such a thing. The idea of doing nothing for a whole day actually makes me feel a bit anxious. After a gentle reminder from Daddy, I forced myself to relax a little. Not long after we returned to our room to change, hit the resto again for a lunch/snack and then headed back to Magic Kingdom.

The weather was much more agreeable, and we arrived there just before 5pm but all we had to tackle was Tomorrowland. We (or at least those of us who aren’t pregnant) Fast Passed for Space Mountain, and  then filled the four hour wait with all of the other rides in Tomorrowland. A and Mama S went off to meet the latest Disney Princess, Merida from the movie Brave, while H and Daddy and I took on the Carousel of Progress. Those animatronics figures still delight/creep the hell out of me and I’m fairly sure H felt the same.

Poor H has a real fear of mascot characters too, but strangely we encountered very few of them on our trip. She and I kept a wide berth between us and them, and she did rather well.

Tomorrowland was kind of lame, in my opinion. The kids loved the new Buzz Lightyear ride, and they also enjoyed the flying space ships. The highlight (pre Space Mountain, of course) was the Monster’s Inc Laugh Floor. It was a totally interactive, improvised comedy show that picked out members of the audience and flashed them up on a big screen for our delight and amusement. This was so well done, and half the joy was listening to H laugh so loud people kept spinning around in their seats to look at her.

Dinner consisted of $50 worth of ‘gourmet’ hot dogs (god help me), and then there was just enough time for the space ship ride before the scheduled date with Space Mountain. The ride looked like one of those fairly time kiddie rides that go up in the air and down again in a circular motion. It’s quite high up because they built it on top of a structure, so there was an amazing view of the part. There was also a far-off lightning storm which was incredibly beautiful. However, there was one thing I didn’t read about in any of the hundreds of pregnancy books I’ve tackled. Apparently you have zero equilibrium when you’re preggers. I got so dizzy and woozy on this ride, it was all I could do not to puke my $10 hot dog on to little A’s head. She was my co-pilot you see. Mama S had to help me out once the ride was over because I was too twirly to stand. The kids thought this was hilarious.

While the fam hit Space Mountain, I made a date with the People Mover, which is a series of little cars that move around Tomorrowland. I had the whole thing to myself, so I put my feet up and enjoyed the warm breeze. The ride was substantial, and ate up a decent chunk of time. The fact that we broke down for ten minutes also really helped.

We all met up again after, and it was just about time to find a place to watch the nightly fireworks blow out. H was unfortunately done with the whole thing at this point, and A despite demanding that we stay was also getting over-tired (read angry and emo). I’m still not totally sure why we elected to stay on anyway, but the fireworks were very pretty. Thank god Mama S thought to rent a stroller.

By the end of the fireworks, I was definitely on the list of children who wanted to be in bed NOW. The problem was this – do we stay an extra hour and let the crowd disburse, potentially getting trapped in the light-up parade that ends the night, or do we brave the crowd and get the hell out of there? The shrieking and crying that began coming from the stroller was our answer.  We really should have got a double.

If you ever think it’s a good idea to drag two exhausted kids and a seven-months pregnant lady through a crowd of thousands of people all trying to get to the same place (and many of these other people are exhausted, cranky-ass kids) I am here to tell you resolutely that it is NOT. Getting out of the park was challenging, but the line up to wait for a monorail was pure hell.

When you are an adult, you are apparently not supposed to whine and carry on as a child might when you are uncomfortable or tired (another lesson I’m working on). When you have kids, you have to bite your tongue and soldier on, and even try to make the shittiest shit fun. Daddy is very good at this. I am not. I did manage stoic and silent though. Just as we were about to board the monorail, the two kids behind us, roughly the same age as ours, actually threw themselves to the ground and passed out. There was something that was frankly eerie about being jostled about in a crowd of exhausted, emotional, sweaty people who were all waiting to be herded onto trains. Not really the Disney fantasy I had in mind. At least nobody puked.

Reaching the car was like arriving at the Promised Land. Once they were strapped in and the a/c was blasting, it was only moments before the children were deeply unconscious. Once home, straight to bed for every last one of us. Were the fireworks worth it? Personally, I say no, but Mama S got to snap some cool photos.

Day three brought us a day of total chilling out. Stay tuned for more…

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Floriday Vaycay Day One

Moments before piling into the car to leave Toronto

It’s morning here, and we’re waking up slowly before padding off for breakfast and some pool side relaxation prior to braving day two of Magic Kingdom. The girls are engaged (i.e. fighting like cats) in a game of Math Dice.

We arrived very late on Tuesday night, and the kids were total troupers despite a full day of making our way from Toronto to Buffalo Airport. Our resort is beautiful, and we’ve got all of the pool we could ever ask for here (I think there are four on site). Today our mission is to discover the kid friendly pool with the pirate ship.

Yesterday we woke up at a leisurely pace, went for breakfast at the resort restaurants, and then piled in the car and headed to Magic Kingdom. The excitement level was through the roof (literally – I couldn’t believe how loud the car was) and both girls patiently weathered the series of gates and monorails and check ins that led into entering the park once and for all. Upon entry, A got the chance to get up close and personal with Princess Aurora (aka Sleeping Beauty). She was lovely and didn’t look sweaty or uncomfortable at all.

H & A take on the Magic Kingdom

Despite a fairly rainy morning (including a brush with a typhoon that left us all soaking wet and ducking for cover in a ‘tribal market’) we managed to knock off half the park at a pace that suited everyone, and the kids got to experience several of the rides that were our own childhood favourites. Highlights included Pirates of the Caribbean, and my favorite The Haunted Mansion. I finally got to ride It’s a Small World, after it being closed all three times I’d previously been to Magic Kingdom. In typical Schnooville fashion, I saw a Toronto colleague running for cover in the downpour. It seems I can’t travel without bumping into someone I know!

I was able to enjoy nearly every ride, except the roller coaster they rode in Frontierland. Riding with the kids was so much fun because they were totally amazed by everything. Instead of the coaster I took a cruise on a riverboat, waving at enthusiastic strangers and wearing my big floppy hat. There were no seats on the boat, and at one point we cruised past a canopied area filled with rocking chairs that seemed to mock me from the shore. The rain made the afternoon temperature quite awesome for a pregnant lady, and my feet held up for nearly six hours. We enjoyed several rests for snacks and water, and an ice cream break to bolster us towards the end of the day. If you can call that soft serve stuff ice cream.

My view from the riverboat

The infamous line ups that we read about really weren’t so bad. The worst was for the last ride we rode – the Peter Pan Adventure. It really was epic, and the ride was really not as impressive as some of the others that we only had to wait 15 mins for. The kids seemed to enjoy it though (H thought we were actually flying), which is the whole point, isn’t it? We headed back to the hotel, enjoyed a late supper, and then a very late family swim before bed time. Our pool is open until 1am!

Today we’ll return to Magic Kingdom in the late afternoon and visit the attractions we didn’t get to yesterday and probably stay for the fireworks. May the gods have mercy as we attempt to drag two exhausted kids home in the epic traffic after park closing. Maybe the Internet gods will show us a free place off site where we can enjoy them?

At dinner last night, six-year-old A spontaneously queried “Do you know how much we love you guys?” and we were treated to an impromptu dance party by the girls who cared not a whit about what other people on the patio might think of their exuberant display. The family vacation simply MUST be an annual tradition.