Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Day Two - Magic Kingdom

Magic Kingdom Day!  It felt like we were officially at Disney World when we first got to see the opening show and walk under the train station onto Main Street.  We broke off from the masses heading towards the Seven Dwarves Mine Train and Anna and Elsa to go into Adventureland.  It felt silly getting in line for the Magic Carpets of Aladdin first, but that was what Touring Plans told us to do, so we tried it.  While we were waiting to get on (there wasn't a line, we just had to wait for the currently-riding people to get off), I asked Doug to check his watch to see how we were doing on the touring plan.  We're not slaves to our touring plan or anything, but before we break away from the plan, it's kind of fun to see how we're doing compared to the times the touring plan has us arriving at and finishing a ride.  That was when we noticed it was only 8:58am, which meant they opened the parks about ten minutes early.  Pretty cool!

The Magic Carpets were fun; Colwyn and Lachlann got spit on by the camel.  We went to Jungle Cruise next and laughed at all the puns, even though we've heard them all before (they follow a script, unfortunately).  It was so weird being in an almost empty Adventureland.  Pirates of the Caribbean was next.  Fiona was pretty nervous about the drop, but did fine with it anyway.  She loved seeing Jack Sparrow throughout the ride, and I amused myself by pointing out all of Jack's treasure in the last scene and telling her how much I like Jack's booty.  We spent a few minutes checking out the gift shop afterwards and bought Colwyn a replacement pair of glasses.

As we approached Thunder Mountain (the less scary between Thunder and Splash, we thought), Niall worriedly asked if it had a yeti.  We assured him it did not and boarded the train.  Fiona absolutely hated it and wailed through most of the ride.  Niall didn't hate it quite as much, but didn't like it, either.  We snapped a quick picture of them in front of Thunder Mountain, then walked towards Splash.  While we were walking, Fiona kept asking/whining about the drop (Niall again asked if there was a yeti on it), and we probably should have just taken the hint and kept her and Niall off the ride.  But we were sure they would end up liking it since Niall generally likes thrills, and Fiona loves animatronic scenes.  Well, that was a big mistake - they both cried through pretty much the whole ride (they did quiet down for a few of the longer calm scenes).  After the big drop, I apologized profusely to the poor couple sitting behind us, and thankfully they were very good natured about it.  Even after we got off the ride, as we were walking along the exit paths, Niall was still crying, telling us exactly how much he hated the ride.  We tried to make things better by buying the kids something - Niall picked out lollipops, Fiona and Lachlann decided to save their money, and Colwyn bought a Pirates pin.

Naturally, after making your young children go on two rides that terrified them, the next logical step is to bring them on Haunted Mansion, right?  Thankfully, Haunted Mansion went much better than the Mountains.  They liked the interactive queue, although we rushed them through it since there wasn't actually a line.  I rode with Fiona and she wasn't too freaked out, and even giggled at parts of it.  Afterward, she said, "I wasn't expecting that!" - whether she meant she wasn't expecting to be forced to ride or whether she wasn't expecting to not be creeped out so much, I don't know.  We got a Photopass picture in front of the Mansion and then went to ride It's a Small World.  Here we encountered the first instance of Colwyn and Lachlann pouting about doing something that wasn't exactly their cup of tea - a recurring theme for this trip, much to my frustration and annoyance.  Fiona loved the ride, though, and that made up for the boys' grouchiness.

We tried to get in line to meet Gaston next, but the line was closed.  We were a little surprised because last time we met him, there was pretty much no line at all, and everything had been walk-ons so far that morning.  Instead, we went into Gaston's Tavern and got a giant cinnamon bun and some LeFou's Brew to snack on, even though we were having lunch at Cinderella's Royal Table shortly.  We hadn't had breakfast yet, and were pretty hungry.  The cinnamon bun was delicious, but the LeFou's Brew was too sweet, even for me.  Niall was pretty much the only one who liked it.  While we hung out, we took some fun pictures in Gaston's chair.

Once we were done eating, we headed back towards the castle, stopping to take some pictures at the Sword In The Stone - one of my favorite photo ops in Magic Kingdom.  There was a pretty long line to check in for Cinderella's Royal Table, so it was probably good we'd gotten some food in the kids, or we may have had a meltdown.  Cinderella was pretty standard, then we headed up to our table.  The nice thing about our seating was that we had plenty of time before the princesses got to our table - I hate it when you're ambushed by characters as soon as you sit down.

The waitress gave us the spiel about Colwyn ordering from the kids' menu if he wanted or 'un-fancying' an adult meal, but he was having none of that.  He was happy to order the salmon, and though he didn't request it, the waitress had the kitchen swap out the black lentils for mashed potatoes, which was very thoughtful and definitely a good choice.  Doug got gnocchi with veggies which he loved, I got chicken with a weirdly bright green pea risotto (which was mostly meh), and Lachlann got a chicken leg, which he liked.  The appetizers were awesome - the kids got cheese and grapes, while the grown-ups got hummus, crostini, strawberry salad, and cheese and honey.

The princess were all very good, to my surprise.  On our last trip, we'd found the princess interaction at character meals kind of lacking, but they were all lots of fun.  Snow White commented on our tie-dye shirts, saying that Dopey must have done our laundry.  After the posed photo and hugs, she gave Niall a huge lipstick kiss on his forehead!  I was lucky enough to snap a picture before he wiped it off.

Aurora said her fairies must have been fighting over what color our clothes should be that morning, Ariel called us Rainbow Fish, and Jasmine said that Abu must have gotten into our laundry.  I had the most fun talking to Jasmine - Niall told Jasmine that he calls himself precious, which is something he gets from Colwyn and Lachlann doing their Golem voices.  I explained that to Jasmine and she immediately got how "fun" that must be to have the bigs use their Golem voices all the time!  Overall, Cinderella's Royal Table was fun, but I enjoyed the food at breakfast more.  I'll also add - I did not enjoy Lachlann's major grouchiness about having to meet the princesses.  I even walked him downstairs at one point to remind him that we made Fiona and Niall ride on two rides that terrified them, because they were rides that Colwyn and Lachlann wanted to ride.  I told him that if he didn't stop pouting in the pictures, he could sit out of the rest of the rides that afternoon.  I hated having to have that kind of talk with him while in "the happiest place on Earth," but seriously!  He was driving me batty.

Peter Pan was next - one of everyone's favorites.  I rode with Fiona, and there's just something so wonderful about hearing her exclaim with delight, especially given the attitude I'd just gotten from Lachlann.  There was just so much innocent joy in her voice and face, it made everything better.

Then we went to the carousel, and Fiona and I managed to snag Cinderella's horse!  She was beyond excited and I was thrilled that she was brave enough to ride on it (half the time she gets freaked out and demands to sit on a bench).  Then Lachlann decided to be a grouch again and refused to get on a horse.  He just wanted to stand holding onto a pole.  Oh my god, I thought I was going to strangle him.  I know it's not out of the range of normal for a 9 year old boy to decide he doesn't want to meet princesses or ride on a carousel, but for the amount of money we were spending to take the kids on vacation, and the number of times we humored them and did things we'd rather not do.. it was pretty hard to swallow.

Next was the teacups, and that went smoother.  Who doesn't love spinning around and around until you puke?  It was still pretty empty in the parks and we were enjoying getting to ride attractions one after another with no wait, but it was really, really hot.  So when we got to Dumbo and they told us we could bypass the play area and just ride, we said, 'Hell no!'  I was so looking forward to the air conditioned play area, and so were the kids!  They gave us a pager and said to just come back whenever we were ready to ride.  So we let the kids blow off some steam and cool off, and reapplied sunscreen.  We were in there a decent amount of time before they made an announcement that 'inclement weather' was approaching the park and that the ride might be shut down at any time.  Our stroller was uncovered, so we jumped to take our turn on Dumbo and then cover our stroller before the rain came.  We made it through Dumbo and covering the stroller no problem, and then since it wasn't raining yet, we went on the Barnstormer.  Niall loved it, but Fiona was more 'meh' about it.  Colwyn and Lachlann liked it, but I think they'd done some growing up since we were there last and it didn't have quite enough thrill for them.  

When we got off, it was still dry but looked like rain, so we went into Pete's Silly Sideshow to meet Minnie and Daisy.  We had to wait a minute before going in because someone had spilled an entire popcorn in the entrance and they were cleaning it.  While we were in line, some CMs brought a new popcorn to the woman in front of us, saying something along the lines of, "We know you said we didn't have to, but it's your birthday, and we wanted to embarrass you even more!"  She had obviously been embarrassed to have dropped the popcorn in the first place, and her face turned bright red when they brought her the popcorn, but it was pretty funny.  Minnie and Daisy were fun, then on the way out, a CM in the gift shop stopped us to play ring toss with her - the kids probably thought that was more fun than meeting Minnie and Daisy, but whatever.

Colwyn and Lachlann were so excited to finally get to ride the Seven Dwarves Mine Train now tha tour Fastpass window was open.  Fiona panicked and refused to ride, so I took her on Winnie the Pooh.  Again, with the same innocence and joy as on Peter Pan - which made it much easier to not be annoyed that she chickened out of the Mine Train.  Niall loved the Mine Train (after asking if there was a yeti on it), and laughed hysterically at Dopey with diamonds on his eyes.  After they finished their ride, I got to ride it with Niall (lucky him getting two go's on the Mine Train!).  It was a fun ride and well themed, but boy, are those seats tight!  The part that was painful was the lap bar - your legs are forced to squeeze together in between the tight bars, and that really sucked.  I was a bit surprised, to be honest, since Disney is generally known for being so accommodating to people of all sizes. 

Niall and I meet up with the others after they finished their turn on Pooh.  We stalled in the gift shop so I could check on when Gaston would be meeting again.  We were expecting the heat to be bad, but I wasn't really expecting quite how hard it would be to stay in a 'magical' frame of mind when it was so relentlessly hot.  As it turned out, we just missed Gaston's line again, and I very nearly had my first temper tantrum of the trip.  But we checked out Under the Sea and decided to brave the 20 minute wait because that would get us out in just enough time to get in line early for Gaston's next meet.  It turned out to be a walk-on, which was good because even though we headed straight over to Gaston's line and were 15 minutes earlier than we expected, we just barely made it in before they closed the line two families behind us.  The line was long and horribly hot, and I won't say too much more about that.  I did get a compliment from a guest about my Magic Band, which was nice.  To add insult to injury (aka the long line), the kids all refused to interact with Gaston.  Fiona hid behind me the whole time, and Colwyn and Lachlann were totally wooden while Gaston chatted at them.  It was so embarrassing and frustrating.  I left wondering why the hell I had just waited in such a long if none of my children wanted to enjoy the experience.

As annoyed as I was, we got the boys in to ride Space Mountain with Doug.  I had some anxiety about it - if they freaked out and decided they didn't want to ride any more thrill rides, I was just going to lose it!  But thankfully they loved it!  Fiona, Niall and I rode Buzz - a huge hit, as always.  After we met up again, we rode the Peoplemover and Fiona was thrilled that she could see her Magic Band glow in the dark.  We got in line for Buzz again so the bigs could ride it, but got a little unlucky as far as the line went - we had to wait for a whole five minutes before boarding.

We were pretty hungry by then and didn't want to eat dinner in the resort again, so we hit up Cosmic Ray's.  We got seats in the Sonny Eclipse area, who I probably found more entertaining than the kids did (nostalgia adds a lot of value, I guess).  I think we all got ribs and chicken combos, and Colwyn shared his with Lachlann.  We were too full to eat our desserts, so they went into my bag (this was a recurring theme throughout the trip, trying to find desserts that would transport well, and having bags stuffed with goodies).

It was getting close to 7:00pm by the time we were done, which was when they would kick out all the day guests as the Halloween Party started, so we headed out, with a quick stop in the Confectionary to get even more desserts (little cakes baked in plastic cups only go so far, I guess).  The kids picked out Mickey cake pops, Mickey sugar cookies, and I got a pecan caramel roll.  It was quite pleasant when we got back to our room, lounging in the air conditioning, eating our snacks!

It was a pretty mixed day overall, I think.  On the downside, it was very hot and sunny (it never ended up raining).  Lachlann was a big grouch about doing anything that wasn't top on his list (Colwyn was also annoyed, but less so).  Fiona and Niall had a really rough time on Splash and Thunder.  On the upside, we got a LOT accomplished because of the low crowds.  The only rides we had to wait on were 5 minutes on the Mine Train and 5 minutes on Buzz Lightyear, everything else we walked right on (even the three mountains).  Gaston had a long line, and that sucked, and Minnie/Daisy had about a 10 minute line, but that was in the air conditioning so actually pretty welcome.  The princesses were wonderful, and Fiona and Niall absolutely loved most of the rides.

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