Less Magical; Still Fun

Thursday we left Hannah at the hotel with Meme. We did not, however, leave the stroller. Oops! We received various updates throughout the day about her total enjoyment of the sand by the pool, the little boy in the sand by the pool, the sand in her shoes…just general enjoyment of the sand, much like her mama when it is attached to the ocean.

We attempted some adulting at Hollywood Studios. Of primary interest was the Tower of Terror. I just kind of love it. Shelby kind of hates it but has this weird need to conquer it every single time. Which adds to how much I love it. (Last time we were there, he almost broke my sister’s hand clutching it so hard. It was great. My mother’s experience was also priceless. I wish we’d bought the picture.) Once again we were Fastpass thwarted even though I had learned the secret of the Disney App. We’d scheduled two rides at the Magic Kingdom for later that evening but didn’t get it together in time (9:00 the night before!!!! WTF Disney?) to get fastpasses to anything in Hollywood Studios.

I suppose early March is kind of Spring Break for a lot of places. And I suppose also not the best time to schedule a trip to a giant kindergarten – college age suckhole of a money suck, but it was a chunk of time I knew would work with Shelby’s theatre schedule so that’s when we were there. With everyone else on the planet apparently. Despite half the nation boycotting Disney (which clearly wasn’t enough cuz OMG lines just go away.) Even the lines for the bathroom were long and winding. And by the time you wormed your way through the bathroom line, even Star Tours had increased the wait time to 90 minutes. FOR STAR TOURS!

We waited in line for 80 minutes or so for Tower of Terror first thing when we arrived. Next to some profoundly depressing college girls. Who made me want to stab their eyeballs out and also teach them all of the things and reeeeeeeeeeeeeeeally really hope my daughter is better than that when she gets to be that age cuz OMG you guys do you even remember I HAVE A DAUGHTER? OF THE FEMALE VARIETY? crap.

We then looked up the wait time for the Aerosmith ride which I am sure has a real name but is and forever will be referred to as the Aerosmith ride. 2 hours. NOPE.

We proceeded to saunter around retired old people style. Shelby wanted a beanie so he didn’t look so I don’t know what in the pictures other people might buy of us on no other rides ever because lines. But the one we found on a cart close by didn’t have a tag and the doofus didn’t make up a price but said he couldn’t sell it to us and then hung it back up on the cart so he could NOT SELL IT TO SOMEONE ELSE IN A MINUTE.

There was just way too much profound stupidity at the Hollywood Studios that day, so we bought our Christmas ornaments and meandered to the parking lot after lunch. Because we’re 60 now.

We drove over to the parking lot for the Magic Kingdom and debated whether to ride the ferry or the monorail because you can’t just go to the Magic Kingdom you have to stand in line first. It was just chilly enough to make the prospect of the ferry horrifying so we waited for the monorail. Then waited on the monorail. Then were trapped inside the monorail once we had made it to the park for all of 2 minutes but still, I was done with the monorail.

The sun was warm enough. We did a bit of walking. A bit of talking. We had some time before we could use our Haunted Mansion ticket so we headed over to Tomorrowland which is apparently our jam. We shot imaginary lasers on the Buzz Lightyear ride. I was totally kicking Shelby’s butt but forgot about the last little bit and gave up too early and he creamed me. Whatever makes him happy. The Haunted Mansion was next, but it was stopped like 3 times while we were on it, to include a complete termination of the soundtrack which did not restart immediately with the ride which is a really weird experience. I mean, how can you pass the busted busts without hearing them sing???

We toodled around some more. Rode a few more rides. Bought a few souvenirs. Ate some food. And then got really tired and did not feel like hanging out until 10 for our Space Mountain fastpass so headed to the front of the park. To wait in line.

Don’t ask me why, but we opted for the ferry this time. Something about the length of lines, logistics of the correct monorail, loss of will to live. I felt a very strong urge to punch a woman who was clearly having a worse day than me and accused me of judging her children who as far as I could tell were being remarkably well behaved for the hour. Instead I smiled sweetly and told her that I was just surveying my future and missing my two year old daughter at home. She gave me some other snarky remark and I just laughed and then dragged Shelby to another pocket a little further ahead in the throng. A short while later, we heard a dad shouting as he walked in the opposite direction of the crowd now pushing and throwing elbows to get on the boat. “Owen?! OWEN!! OWEN?! Has anyone seen a little boy in a black hoodie?” My heart plummeted. I really hope they found Owen. I really hope Owen didn’t get in too much trouble. I’m really glad I’ve never (knock wood) felt the gut punch of not knowing exactly where my child is.

We made it back to the hotel without further incident. Hannah was sleeping though not for long. I enjoyed a glass of wine with my feet up sitting in the kitchen next to my husband happily tapping away at his computer. I looked up a few things and began to get excited about Hannah’s adventures to the Animal Kingdom the following day. I had high hopes for the Animal Kingdom.

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Magic Kingdom Indeed

Things are different with a kid. Everyone says it. Everyone believes it. But no one KNOWS it until you have a kid.

I am a coaster kinda girl. I love riding Space Mountain, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, Splash Mountain (c’mon Disney, what’s your fixation on mountains?) and the like. I will happily stand in lines for upwards of an hour and a half just for the 4 minutes of wind in my hair, butterflies in my tummy, and bragging rights. And then I will run across the park to stand in line for something else, and go back to the first side for my fastpass. Lots of ill-planned cross park running to minimize wait times and maximize thrills.

Enter baby. Who does not like to wait in line for anything. Who does not meet the minimum height requirements by a long shot but would probably love all the mountains as much as I do. But who is also equally entertained by climbing on benches and making faces at her daddy to trick him into giving her popcorn. (She is spoiled though, so there is not a lot of tricking that needs to happen.)  The park opened at 9 and we were safely and happily inside by 9:30. We headed directly to Tomorrowland so Shelby and I could get in line for Space Mountain. We’d use the wait in line time to develop a plan for maximum coaster time and baby enjoyment and the Magic of the Magic Kingdom would rain upon us in all its super parenting glory.

Or Not.

By 9:30, the wait time for Space Mountain was already 2 hours. how is that even possible???? So we headed over to the terminals set up 500 feet away to load our tickets with fast passes which is when I discovered the fastpass system is completely different than it was 3 years ago AKA the last time I was at Disney World. All fast passes are loaded into the terminals, so you can fastpass any Magic Kingdom ride from the terminals in Tomorrowland unlike before when you had to actually go to the ride you wanted to fastpass. Feelings and opinions and GRRRRRR. Blah, long story short, there were no more fastpass times available for Space Mountain. THE PARK CLOSED AT 11PM. 30 MINUTES INTO THE DAY THERE WAS NO POSSIBLE WAY WE WERE GOING TO SPEND LESS THAN 2 HOURS IN LINE. I mean I like coasters, but not that much.

Once our idea of our day at the Magic Kingdom exploded we had to recalibrate. Let go of preconceived and formerly experienced Magic Kingdom of our Youth and focus on Newly Experiencing Magic Kingdom for our Youngin. We were reluctant to believe it, but we ended up having a really nice time. We just sauntered around like old people. Went into that door because Hannah could and it was only 20 minutes until the next showing. Nevermind it was probably boring and awful cuz Hannah could go in and it was only a 20 minute wait (spoiler alert. We were at the Magic Kingdom. Nothing is boring and awful.) Then we’d saddle up and keep cruising around the park. “Are you feeling a little hungry?” “I could eat a thing.” “OK, let’s see what they have at this place we are conveniently standing outside of.” “Nah.” “OK, let’s grab a bag of popcorn at the cart right there and keep sauntering along.” “Yeah.” “Country Bear Jamboree in 10 minutes. Wanna?” “Sure.” And so on and so forth.

It was relaxing. It was surprisingly eventful. Hannah got to ride several rides and see lots of shows. She got to meet Goofy and Donald. She was terribly excited the whole time we stood in line, pointing and giggling. She just in general seemed to be real into the idea of meeting a giant dog (?) and her current favorite word “Duck”. But as soon as it was our turn she was all “Nope. Where’s dad? Must clutch Dad’s leg! Where’s dad?! Giant DOG THING IS PLAYING PEEK-A-BOO!!! DOES NOT COMPUTE!!! DAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA.”

We rode the ferry and the monorail. We walked more than 16,000 steps. We had dinner at Epcot and got to watch the fireworks from the warmth of the restaurant window. Hannah got some souvenirs. Everyone was well tired and felt pretty good about the day’s accomplishments. I snapped a very cute pic of Hannah’s silhouette on our way home.

Epcot

It was magical.

We Interrupt This Program

To talk about my hair. What the ever lovin GRAY!?

I decided to be a big bad grown up recently. Do a thing I have never really done before in my whole grown up life. I went to a hair salon and dyed my hair. I mean, I only sorta went adult about it. I did go to Aveda and paid very little to have a student dye my hair but shut-up. Baby steps.

And I’m GLAD I didn’t shell out a billion dollars for a dye job and slice up (also known as a cut and color) because DUH DUH DUH…drumroll please.

The amount of gray hair that has crept out around my temples is obscene. And and and, I have generally straight hair anyway, pretty long and thin and limp and boringly mousy brown. It just kinda lays flat against my head no matter what I try to do with it. But these three hairs. Directly in the front. In what would be the widow peak area if I had a widow’s peak. Are short. Gray. And standing at direct attention ALL THE TIME! NO MATTER HOW MANY TIMES I YANK THEM OUT.

I’m thirty five this weekend. 35. I hate it. I don’t want it. I don’t think gray makes me look distinguished. I don’t think laugh lines and sunspots make me feel accomplished and mature. I am vain. And old. And elderly by theatre standards. And I just want boring mousy hair that lightens in the sun but grows all the way down my back without splitting and breaking. And a flat if not toned tummy that looks less like the blob in a bathing suit so I can be concerned about the roll when I sit and not the jiggle and muffin top when I am standing as straight as can be sucking in as hard as humane and covering with as much strategic hand and towel placement as possible. And two separate legs at the top when I stand AND when I walk. And smooth clear skin like I had when I was 20 and did not appreciate. That is what I want for my birthday. Make it so. Miracles people, it’s not that hard.

Florida Indeed

We took Hannah for her first (of what I assume will be many if my husband has anything to say about it) Disney experience. She loved it.

We drove down to Florida. We split the drive on the way there kinda for our own sanity in case the little dumpling had a meltdown and couldn’t make it the full way. I was mostly glad we had opted to stay in Georgia overnight, but in the long run I don’t really think it mattered much.

We arrived in Orlando Monday evening. We started to get all settled in our room and then I sent Shoobs to go pick up his mother at the airport. She had agreed to join us on our trip to be a live in nanny of sorts for when we wanted to have a more adult experience. It couldn’t have been a nicer arrangement.

Tuesday, Hannah stayed with Meme (pronounced may may) while the Huz and I saddled up and headed to Universal Studios. It was cold. Much colder than we had expected. But the lines were still long, and we had foolishly decided to purchase tickets at the gate rather than in advance. Rookie mistake. Miraculously, they opened up a new line that started with us and we got to skip about 45 minutes of waiting to get into the daggone place.

We purchased the Park to Park pass, mostly because we wanted to experience both sections of Harry Potter. We started with the park most familiar to us and wound our way to Hogsmeade. Apparently everyone else in Orlando was also only interested in  HP because what was a roomy if congested walk earlier in the park became shoulder to shoulder Mardi Gras style elbow throwing slow and steady snake by the time we got even remotely close. That said, the only real roller coaster in Hogsmeade (the Dragon Challenge) was only a 35 minute wait so we stowed the tiny amount of stuff we had in our pockets and hopped in line. I’ll spare you the drama of the locker situation.

Or maybe I won’t.

So they make you store everything in a locker. I’m not real clear on why. Like everything; chapstick, cell phones, glasses, if it is not literally affixed to your person, it must be stowed. BUT, they give you the locker rental free. BUT, they have no real way of telling how long you will be detained on the ride, so they just give you an hour. Which is great. And wonderful. If they had more than 5 lockers (exaggeration). And if  the lockers reset in the system once they had been identified as cleared. But they didn’t. So because everything is computerized, what you end up with is a bunch of empty lockers that still have time sitting on them and so can’t be checked out again, but are empty and won’t lock again. The one locker attendant is so bogged down with requests to reset this locker number and that that if you aren’t within nose rubbing distance, you won’t get heard. But whatever, the lockers were free. And the wait time for lockers was factored into the wait time for the ride so there you go.

We rode the coaster and then reevaluated our situation. We were getting hungry, Hogsmeade was till pretty packed, and we wanted to check out Diagon Alley as soon as possible, so we headed to the Hogwarts Express!