Thursday, May 31, 2012

Disney World 2008: Day 3

The Nearly Empty Magic Kingdom, (And the Equally Empty List of Anabelle’s Food)

With this view, who cares what she ate?
Following the Pluto Incident, we were concerned about Tuesday’s breakfast with Pooh and friends in the Crystal Palace before park opening.  We were expecting yet another disaster from waking Anabelle up extra early to encounter the Lurking Horror of Eeyore.

Not wanting us to gain any insight into her motivations, she happily hugged Pooh, Piglet and even Eeyore when they came to the table. She even got up for the 100 Acre Wood Napkin Spinning Conga Line, once with Rosa and once alone.  Tigger skipped our table, but they let us go over to see him on the way out, so it made for a very good start to the day.

That is, if you ignore the fact that Anabelle’s breakfast consisted of a couple bacon strips, one Mickey Waffle ear, and cupcake icing.  But I did say, “A good start,” not, “A nutritious start”.

I’d never seen the place that empty.  Most attractions had no lines at all, and even the waits for Princesses’ Meet and Greet and the Peter Pan ride didn’t get much over 20 minutes.  This is the big benefit to being there off season.  It eclipses the negatives, such as the Country Bears being renovated, and the occasional odd casting choice (i.e. a blonde Marion in the Indiana Jones Stunt Spectacular a white guy in the Lion King Show, etc.)

The place of honor
We ended up in Fantasyland for quite a while.  At the obligatory Ariel grotto meeting, Anabelle gave her favorite princess a note, and was thrilled to see it placed in her box of treasures (with the dinglehopper). We then ping-ponged around from ride to ride. 

Each attraction (except the multiple carrousel trips) required a great amount of convincing before and reassuring during that she would like it…that inevitably led to her yelling, “AGAIN!” afterward.  All the reassuring led to poor Rosa’s voice being completely gone the next day.  We even had to talk Anabelle into going on her old favorite, the Small World, because she decided (just to keep us guessing) to be terrified of the hippo in it. That is, until she saw it, and it became her favorite part of the ride again.  As you see, having any inclination as to what would scare her and what would make her happy just wasn’t going to happen.  We took turns bringing Anabelle on rides while the others went to see the updated Haunted Mansion.  Some of the changes were cool (the Escher stairs) but we liked it the old way, less gimmicky and computery looking. (Yeah, we’re crotchety about Disney changes.)  Rosa’s camera skills shined again.  Along with the required “Fred” headstone shot, she got one of the Madame Leota headstone with the eyes open.  On the way in to the mansion, I was handed one of the red cards they use to accurately judge line length.  We had never seen this before, and I wasn’t sure who to give it to.  When the first couple servants refused it, acting like they didn’t know what it was, Rosa panicked, assuming I had been singled out for a special scare.  She wouldn’t stand anywhere near me until we got to the Doom Buggy.
Required photo

Super extra bonus photo!

We saw a new Disney feature that was interesting.  I think at least once in each park there was a cast member whose job was simply to stand around and blow bubbles, much to the delight of passing children. I guess it served to divert some of the visitors from attraction lines.  It rained just long enough for us to buy the ponchos, and then cleared up. We figured we’d need them in Epcot anyway, so we kept them.  While buying them, a cast member complimented my tattoos and I felt him try to put a Mickey sticker on my back without me knowing. I thanked him for it, and he said, “Well in that case…” and stuck it next to the Batman tattoo. 

That was a seriously good sticker.

It remained on all day and the waxed circle on my arm after I removed it stayed with me for the trip. I learned to keep my mouth shut the next time.

After multiple rides on just about everything, except Snow White, we left Fantasyland. (That witch still scares me; no way was I going to push it when she said no.)  Lunchtime led us to Tomorrowland and Cosmic Ray’s Starlight Café for some quality time with good ole Sonny Eclipse. It was here that we really started to realize Anabelle’s food variety was in trouble. Almost all the children’s meal choices were: hot dog, macaroni and cheese, chicken nuggets, or pizza.  We’d already found that she didn’t like the hot dogs or macaroni and cheese there, and the nuggets were running about 50%/50%.  Once again, I disassembled a club wrap to give her some bacon and we figured on her eating pizza the rest of the week.

Thanks to what was far too much convincing for the first attempt yet again, Anabelle fell in love with Grandpa's favorite, Buzz Lightyear.  We ended up riding it three more times in various combinations.  My point totals were an order of magnitude less than they had been in the past.  Either:

(A) They had changed the scoring system
(B) The guns were breaking down
(C) I was getting old and slow …

Here’s hoping for (A) or (B). 

Anabelle met Buzz himself and also had an entertaining encounter with PUSH, the talking garbage can, on her way to the bathroom to change into her Rosetta dress. (That’s another fairy for the Disney impaired.)

She got Rose Princess face paint as we entered Toontown.  There she discovered Goofy’s Barnstormer kids Roller Coaster.  We definitely had a thrill ride junkie in the works. She insisted on riding multiple times, until she sat at least once with each of us.  She also played around in Minnie’s house, and then went to see the Princesses.  We toured Mickey’s house, which eventually leads to meeting the Mouse himself.  After a far less horrendous than usual line, we were pleasantly surprised to find Minnie with him.

Well, not overly surprised, I mean, her house was conspicuously missing a bedroom.

Both mice appeared very excited when Anabelle told them, “I played in your houses.” Leaving Mickey’s pad, my stupidity paid off. I led us the wrong way into a dead end.  We walked right into another benefit of off-season Disney, the unscheduled character appearance.  Right before we turned around, Mary Poppins came out causing Anabelle to run away from us yelling her name. After letting her play in the little playground, it was off to see what Adventureland had to offer.

My original plan was to miss the parade this day, to take advantage of empty rides, and catch it when we came back Friday.  The big problem with the plan was…

I’m an idiot. 

Instead of leading us around it and into an attraction before it came by, I led us directly into the parade in Liberty Square.  It was in progress, and there wasn’t any close spot to see it.  I was going to put Anabelle on my shoulders, but she decided that she was afraid to sit there (even though she spent much of that summer sitting on them).  The resultant flailing led to a kick in my nether regions that dropped me for the duration of the parade.  Anabelle watched the rest standing on a wall. (Considering she was much easier to lift, and to panic last time we came, only one kick like this was a vast improvement.)

We started post-parade with the New Tiki Room, and had Uh Oah - the angry Tiki goddess - scare our child.  Not to the point that she tried to run out, but it was definitely not an “Again!” attraction.  The Jungle Cruise ride was wonderfully stupid as always, with just the right mix of old favorites, and new bad jokes to be fun.  No line either, we only had to wait for one boat, never ever saw that before. 

Favorite joke I hadn’t heard before:

“Over here is an elephant playing with a crocodile. There’s something you don’t see every day.  But I do…every ten minutes of every day.  Stay in school kids.” 

Close second:

“As you get off the boat, watch your head. If you don’t watch your head, watch your language.”  (He must have seen me the last time we went.)

And yes, I still always laugh at, “The back side of water.”

I beleive I've made my POINT.  Bwa-Ha-Ha!

Before dinner we were able to bring Anabelle over to see Jasmine.  Fortunately (with a bit of prodding) Aladdin needed to go look in the store for Abu when it was her turn. Again, it would have made more sense that she was afraid of Aladdin if she hadn’t hugged Buzz Lightyear earlier in the day, but where’s the challenge when kids make sense?

The transitional Cinderella’s Castle dinner (between when there were no characters at all, and the full coming of the full Princess gang later on) was a fun show.  Cinderella greeted us for pictures in the lobby, and Anabelle got a souvenir wand.  During dinner, the Fairy Godmother came out, led the celebrations, sang Bibbidy Bobbidi Boo and did other fun things.  Then Suzy and Pearla Mouse danced around and came to see everyone.  Anabelle wanted grilled chicken instead of nuggets, however didn’t like it and ended up eating some of Grandma’s steak and the nuggets left from lunch. I felt very sorry for the poor waiter, who saw the nuggets that he had offered but we didn’t order, especially since he brought her a dish of bacon after he saw her stealing it out of my salad.  He took it in stride though, and supplied her with the mayonnaise she requested in her own teeny bottle. 

With the main crowd heading out for the 7 PM closing, and the Halloween party crowd not yet in, the park was a ghost town after dinner.  Anabelle had time to go with Grandma to buy the Buzz Lightyear gun she was promised, and then ride Dumbo twice while Rosa and I went to check out the updated Pirates of the Caribbean, now with, “That kid from 21 Jump Street,” as the Jungle Boat captain described it.  Since this had changed less than the Haunted Mansion, we approved more.

Following some final Fantasylanding, we caught the end of the new Dream Along with Mickey show on the way out.  It looked good enough to make us sure to see it when we returned.  We got back to the hotel early enough for Anabelle to play in the lobby on the “Bridge of Wahs” as she called it, because she took it to her “Wahs show”. (I am not making this up, she was...or Wahs.)

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