The well past peak levels of exhaustion we had all hit was showing.
Anabelle’s talking in her sleep was above and beyond her normal frequent nightly babblings, startling us awake regularly. She was taking cough pills by this last full day, while Rosa and I were both dipping into the, “Take these antibiotics if it doesn’t get better,” stash.
Waking up to the uber chipper and seemingly immortal Stacy always helped get the energy going, however.
This morning was the first time all nine of us were off the bus and at the Magic Kingdom entrance in time for the Disney Railroad based opening show.
A fantastic achievement- except for one thing- we weren’t going to the Magic Kingdom.
Actually, that was fantastic too, since it was Saturday and there were upwards of eighty-seven mega-gazillion people waiting to get in.
Grandma was cold, and we debated taking the Monorail again, instead of the stated to be faster boat ride.
Being ferried over to the Grand Floridian by Skipper Stan confirmed we made the right choice, and we were back at the new entrance to 1900 Park Faire before we knew it.
The amazingly fun and tasty place continued to remain free from the mob like conditions in the rest of the world. Our only delay was spawned by the host of one of the few places we easily found a reservation for nine without splitting it up taking us to a table that sat eight.
A few sprinkles of Disney Magic later, and we were moved to the best seat in the house.
A large table in a mostly empty section near the exit.
The reason it was the best seat in the house is the Mad Hatter had switched from a roaming character to the main photo character. Normally that would limit interactions as we’d only see him on arrival. However, with the change of the entrance point, this put him at the exit, giving him large amount of time between guests leaving to frolic about our table in a dazzling display of entertaining insanity.
Winnie the Pooh came by pushing Morgan into the throws of excitement and an extended Pooh hug.
Hee Hee, Pooh!
It was the only sighting of a zipper on a Disney character. Not on Pooh himself, but on his jacket.
Because Disney is awesome.
Mary Poppins came over and during her mostly prim and proper visit continually helped Veronica blow the hair out of her face, because she’s practically perfect in every way.
There was a brief pause in the moments we had to eat for Morgan to alert us:
“TIGGER!!!!!! LOOK EVERYBODY!!!!!!!”
Before he bounced his way over, Alice stopped by and went, “Ooh!” a lot at everyone’s pretty outfits, with a particular focus on Aurora’s light up Star Wars Ears.
Morgan had started bouncing well before Alice arrived and continued through Tigger’s visit and kept going for most of the rest of the meal. There was a fair amount of sugar in the outstanding Floridian breakfast choices.
As we finished eating the magnificent food in the Floridian restaurant, the Mad Hatter had plenty of time to share some personal weirdness with us. There were exchanges about gummi bears, and he and Morgan engaged in a discussion and comparison of self face slapping techniques.
Being the proper age to match her sister and cousin on previous visits, it was Veronica’s turn to hide under the table from him.
The Hatter escorted us from our breakfast to our photo session, commenting on the wild colors of my Sixth Doctor shirt. Once we cleared up that I was not a doctor, but an engineer, he spent the rest of the photo shoot going,
On the way out we needed to pause for the obligatory coin presses (thanks for the change Auntie Kim!) and snooty Floridian Lobby photos. We also waved to the bride in the horse drawn carriage on the way to the bus stop…
As she waved goodbye to the cost of our entire vacation in one day.
The benefits of a Deluxe Accommodation met us at the Bus Stop, with digital boards letting us know the exact arrival time of the busses to each destination.
Since that time tends to run between “a little longer than you want” and “not too bad” at all hotels, I’m not sure those are worth the upgrade.
The bus driver was from Brooklyn (YAY!) and got us to MGM without incident.
Following the usual security shenanigans, we regrouped on Main-ish Street. In between rest room sorties, Rosa, Anabelle and I exercised our practiced skills at fun filled PhotoPassing.
A line check on the app gave us a window to dash over for many warm hugs with Olaf. On the way back, we passed the Jedi training. The new show added the Seventh Sister and Darth Maul, but was also framed like the Dagobah Dark Side cave where it’s all in their minds, instead of being real like when Anabelle did it.
They took Morgan off to change into his Captain Hook costume to meet Jake. There was a brief delay, which we later learned was due to Morgan deciding he did not want to see Jake. Dad was right about four being the perfect age for Disney World. What he neglected to mention is that it is also the perfect age for getting overwhelmed by favorite characters to the point that figuring out who they will actually go see is impossible.
Good one Dad.
During the break, Rosa and Anabelle went to spend some quality Pluto time…
There were also First Order Stormtroopers on patrol outside the Launch Bay. They refused to stand still for photos, but between my sneaking into the background in my Darth Vader hoodie, and Rosa sneaking in front of them with the Super Deluxe Magical Camera, we stole a few shots.
Yay, Disney team work!
And the first attempted stealth shot on the Super Deluxe Magical Camera was coded “1138.”
Yay, random Lucasfilm Reference!
Based on Rosa’s scouting report, and my uncontrollable Star Wars addiction we made sure to get to center stage for the A Galaxy Far Far Away stage show. Beforehand, cast members asked trivia questions and gave out Imperial Membership cards.
Sign me up please!
Sign me up please!
The show consisted of random clips from the films accompanied by live appearances by costumed Star Wars characters.
Pretty straight forward, not a whole lot of substance…
And COMPLETELY AWESOME!!!
WOO!! STAR WARS FOREVER!!!! YAAAAY!!!!
Sorry, lost it a bit there.
The show finished in time for our Great Movie Ride FastPass. I requested the Cowboy version this time, explaining the kids already saw the gangster one, and we were leaving tomorrow.
I conveniently left out the point that the adults all like the cowboy version better, but sometimes creative omission is part of the Where Will We Go Next Guy’s job description.
Not only was the cowboy great, but the tour guide had infinitely more flair than our earlier go around.
Filled with film goodness, we returned to the Muppet Plaza, and its increasing footprint. PizzaRizzo hadn’t opened yet, but the newly Gonzo themed “Royal Flush” bathroom was.
We saw Muppetvision 3D again.
While poking around in the store, and identifying pins to bring back as souvenirs for the troops at work, I began to actively work against my last day RAVING LUNATIC curse.
The key to beating it was insuring we had lunch in spite of the fact that we had a giant Grand Floridian breakfast to start the day.
I feverishly worked to organize our masses across the park to the giant food kiosk farm over on Sunset Boulevard.
Rosa took Anabelle to forge on ahead, following my multiple time check of the online menus to confirm the ribs she loved were still at Fairfax Faire, along with selections for Anabelle and me.
As Where Will We Go Next Guy, I often found myself crossing the park alone, trying to maintain connections between spilt groups. I caught up with my family in the table filled area, where Anabelle was eating, and Rosa was leaving.
Turns out the ribs had been moved to the Studio Commissary, which is next to the Muppet Plaza for those of you who haven’t figured out how our luck works yet. This was updated online about a month after we got home. Not so much yay.
I had to stay with Anabelle until the rest of the gang showed up, pushing me as close to the border of crazy hungry as possible without reaching incoherence. They got their piles of food and stayed with Anabelle while I got my lunch, and barely avoided the curse.
Rosa was enjoying Ribland, and got me a Chewbacca Mug, (YAY! Thanx honey!) The rest of us went for our Tower of Terror FastPass, to ride the family favorite attraction for only the first time due to the surprising levels of crowds.
You know, the piping in of Christmas music everywhere really throws off the themeing of the lands.
Veronica and Aurora started out very nervous on line, and joined in Anabelle’s conversion of fandom to the Tower of Terror after the disastrous run on our last trip all together. Aurora actually yelled out, “I was wrong about this ride” during the drops. That was kind of obvious anyway, since she had jointed in Anabelle’s constant cheering screams of, “Awesome!” throughout.
Morgan, on the other hand…
He came off the elevator, not crying, not screaming, but tearing into all of us:
“I TOLD you I didn’t want to go in. Who thought this would be a good idea?”
When asked what he didn’t like, he quickly responded, “I LIKED NOTHING!”
Grandma was repeating her previous trip’s offer of shirts to all the kids for coming with her on one of her favorites, that selection took a while, as did Anabelle’s back and forth decisions that finally ended with her selecting a Tower themed doll to go with her Monster High collection instead of a shirt.
There was an additional debate over a paper MGM FastPass someone gave Kim a couple of days before for a second ride. Dave’s newly acquired motion sickness was popping up again, and Grandma and Veronica didn’t think they could handle a double shot, leaving Kim, Anabelle, Aurora and me for the second trip.
Unfortunately, even though I counteracted being a RAVING LUNATIC, I was still totally exhausted from a week at Disney, completely lost track of extended time required for the pre and post Tower crowd adjustments, and forgot to call Rosa when the first ride finished.
On our previous trip, she had come into the gift shop after each thrill ride to log our pictures onto PhotoPass. With that being done automatically in DisneyPlusLand, I had also forgotten that she hadn’t been. Therefore she was waiting alone out in the beating sun with face and back pain for an extended period that were indications that would later lead to sinus and oral surgery, and a kidney stone mining operation.
She contacted me on the way in for the second round, and decided to go see some air conditioned sights to try and recover then meet us for dinner.
The Rock and Roller coaster, newly opening after an extended refurbishment, was broken.
We passed through a couple of stores, noting Power Rangers in the villain location didn’t bring up our spirits for the correct return of that place. So we played with the Jawas again (Yay!) on the way to dinner.
The last minute Play and Dine meal we had on our earlier trip was one of the fantastic surprises of the vacation, insuring its spot on this trip.
The amazing pasta station was gone, and the rest of the food was as close to “meh” as Disney comes.
(Translation: still better than most non Mouse Run places, but definitely off the “must go” list.)
It was fun to see Daisy and Minnie in their sparkly holiday dresses, and Mickey and Donald were always welcome. Maybe we were just getting over tired, but they felt rushed. The kids still had a blast with them, and Mickey came back for some extra fun, though, so it probably was the exhaustion thing.
The final photos with Santa Goofy were a little more confusing than usual, which for us is saying something. Having two families in three rooms with one reservation threw off their calculations, I think.
Rosa took her injured self back to the POP, and Grandma took her relatively knew artificial knee to the same place. Both were not going on the Star Tours FastPass anyway.
For the between time. Kim’s gang caught the Frozen sing along show. At one point “snow” appeared on stage and Anna and Kristoff wondered who could be coming. Most of the audience yelled, “Elsa!” A small pocket called out, “Olaf!” and then following a perfectly timed pause, Aurora belted out, “SVEN!” causing the entire audience to do a startled take. They all praised the show and the corny gags in it highly.
Speaking of corny gags, Anabelle and I hit Muppetvision 3D again, noting some of the newer movie poster parodies on the way in, including the TRON joke to make up for the loss of the one with Wreck it Ralph. YAY!
We met up at Star Tours. It was still in Force Awakens mode, but we got the Vader opening this time, with his awesome theme music.
With Rosa already gone home to rest, my hopes for a family viewing of the Galactic Spectacular fireworks together was already shot. Toy Story Mania had a short line, and the kids desperately needed their release. Kim and Dave took all of them on multiple runs while I waited near the center viewing area, after passing the still closed (dang!) Tie Fighter popcorn stand.
The show was amazing again and even more so because I could see the center screen.
They caught it too, but couldn’t find me until after it ended. Aurora was truly offended by the people who bought the light up Mickey ears and then didn’t have enough clue to turn them on.
Morgan was unconscious in the stroller, with his bubble wand still clasped in his hand going full blast. This could have made him easy to follow out…
If five dozen other stroller bound children weren’t in the same condition.
Anabelle and I took turns with a Latin couple we met by the big Christmas tree at the exit playing fake PhotoPass to get shots of each other. We bid good night to our final Instant Disney Friends and met up again with the rest of the gang at the bus stop.
Veronica misread the Coronado Springs bus welcome as “Bee Venee Does Colorado Springs!” Then she repeated it over and over again in a weird southernish accent for the rest of the wait and ride home.
Aurora and Anabelle were already at maximum giggle due to exhaustion at Veronica’s accent and took full advantage of the last bus ride to be late night delirious twins. They played “Taps” continually on the ride back to the POP, alternating between mooing, and making pig noises.
The trivia board at the gift shop had Winnie the Pooh questions. The kids teamed up on it, and went back to the rooms with metric boatloads of stickers.
I did the final full mug run of the trip, and then we needed to do Saturday night mass. With Rosa’s condition and Anabelle’s exhaustion, meeting up at Kim’s laptop wasn’t happening. We used my phone for “Radio Free Church.” Anabelle was out cold shortly after the final blessing. We packed up, and I went out to refill our mugs.
I also got the buttons replaced that had the writing worn off or clasps broken after our week of forced marches. There was a delay in the lobby due to all the Christmas decorations going up at 11:30 PM, and a horde of ribbon bedecked guests newly arrived from a party somewhere needing to check in.
I waved to the pool and arcade again on the way back. Besides being a little too cold most of the time, the extended park hours made it way too late to use either of them by the time we got back each night. With the pace we had set this trip, there was absolutely no chance of slowing down for a “hotel day” before leaving.