I'm writing these vacation posts partly just to bore you into a coma but also so that I can look back and remember what the heck we did on our vacation.
By Thursday, we had visited all four Disney parks (well, except the water parks, but we weren't planning to visit those regardless). So then it was a matter of which parks we should hit a second time. For Friday, we came up with a consensus: we'd spend the morning at the Magic Kingdom and spend the afternoon swimming at the resort. The challenge with the Magic Kingdom is that you can't just waltz in and out. First you have to take a tram from the parking lot. Then you have to get from the ticket center to the actual park. There are two choices: ferry and monorail. We took the monorail. You think you're almost off the hook at this point, but you still have to stand in the bag checking line (to make sure you're not carrying any contraband). Then you stand in line again to get through the turnstiles (this involves a fingerprint scan). Finally, you're in the park. I would not be surprised at all to learn that Disney took some of my DNA for analysis at one of the checkpoints along the way.
The kids rode a few rides. I think the parents were pretty much rided-out by then. Friday was a weird day. I was THIS close to drinking the Disney kool-aid and believing that nothing ever goes wrong there. But then a couple things went wrong. First, the ride that the kids were most desperate to ride broke down. Then, when it was time to leave, Disney used the B word on us. We were informed that the monorail was down and that the ferry was not running. We were instructed to get in line and wait for a . . . bus. We stood in line for an eternity, baking in the heat and watching families around us implode. One guy walked up from the back of the line to find out when the line would start moving. The guy behind me yelled at him, "The line is back THERE, buddy!" We watched bus after bus pull up, not take on any passengers, and then leave. Very strange, aye.
Eventually we got on a bus and made it back to the resort. We made it to the pool much later than we had intended, but we figured we'd live now that the kids could get their swimming ya-ya's out. Except that they couldn't, because some black clouds rolled in and the resort closed the pool. Gah! It re-opened a couple hours later and the kids finally got to soak up the chlorine like they wanted to.
Later, we went to Downtown Disney for shopping and dinner. It was raining like crazy, but we soldiered on once again. We stopped at the Lego store and had dinner at the House of Blues.
On Saturday morning, it was time to say good-bye to our friends. We had to check out of the resort that day. They were headed to Animal Kingdom and we wanted to go back to Epcot since our first visit to that park had been a fairly short one. So, we bid them adieu, packed up our crap (including our daughter's $15 light-up balloon pictured below) and drove to Epcot. We caught a few of the shows we hadn't seen the first time (such as Captain EO - talking about trippy nostalgia!). And yes, I let my daughter stand in the Chip and Dale line this time. And guess what? She was complaint-free the whole time.
It was hot, but we also walked around the lake and visited all of the various countries. We had lunch in France. It was pricey (but served by real French people, yo) but it was really good. Finally, when we could take the heat no more, we headed out to our car. We trudged across the black asphalt, feeling the soles of our shoes melting a little with every step. I don't know what the actual temperature was, but I think it was pretty close to the temperature at which I reheat pizza in my oven at home. When we got in the car, we found that the parking stub we'd left on the dash had turned black.
On Friday night, we stayed in a hotel that I'd gotten on Priceline. It was a Hilton Garden Inn and it was super nice. Not only did the man at the front desk tell me that he'd be DELIGHTED to give me a room with two beds at no additional charge, he also invited me to take as many free chocolate chip cookies as I wanted. (Take that, Clarion!)
The three of us went swimming and then ordered a pizza and hung out in our room. We decided it was high time to make our daughter tackle the homework she'd been neglecting all week. This went over about as well as you'd imagine. We finally gave up and went to bed. Then on Sunday, we flew back home. The return flight was completely uneventful, so nothing to report there. Well, unless you'd find my daughter's confusion during her solo trip to the lavatory to be amusing, which you wouldn't.
We now return to our regularly scheduled programming.