Monday, November 6, 2017

Disney 2016, Day 3 - All Plans and Our Schedules Laid Bare, We’re Prepared

November 6, 2016

Aside: This post is now conclusive proof that it takes me a full year to write, edit, and annotate a post from a big trip.  (Aside, within an aside, Happy Birthday honey!)

Rosa’s birthday began with us all watching Church TV in our separate rooms.  Because of my...lets go with less focused version of Catholicism than the rest of the family, I had our bags packed during the show and the three of us were ready first.

We all met up sporadically at the station, but made it onto the same bus.  I spent the ride wondering how another family was going to survive the week without a Grid; after hearing them decide at that moment to choose the Magic Kingdom in two days.

The ride was far shorter than the posted length, because Disney knows how to psychologically manipulate crowds just as much as they know how to move them.  Even with a delay at the start, and Grandma’s ever present fingerprint issues, we made it to Animal Kingdom in time for the park opening ceremony…

Which no longer existed.

At least they played the Circle of Life to welcome our Lion King loving family.

Rosa went off to find some birthday PhotoPass locations…and, apparently, kangaroos, Grandma took Morgan on a stroller tour of the park, and the rest of us brought the girls to Expedition Everest to sneak in a ride before our first FastPass.

Unsurprisingly to anyone who knows our family, the roller coaster was broken.

Not in the easy to navigate, “Going to be closed all day” way. But in the, “Frequent Cast Member movement encourages us to hang around juuuuuuuuuust a little longer over and over again way.” 

Eventually both Grandma and Rosa stopped by to see us, and left to meet us by the “Bumpy Bus” of Kilimanjaro Safaris.  As the last possible seconds were about to tick by that would prevent us from catching the opening of our Safari FastPass window and causing that day’s grid to collapse like dominos in an artillery bombardment, Everest opened.

We all had a fantastic time on the story focused mountain thrill ride.  YAY!

Well, most of us yayed.  Kim and Dave liked it, but realized “Backwards in a mountain train in the dark” was far worse that the already acknowledged unpleasantness of “Backwards in a boat.”

We crossed over to meet the rest of the gang for the African bumpy bus ride. The day was still early enough that the superheated nature of the park hadn’t kicked in full blast yet, allowing many of the animals to move about.  For the ones that weren’t, the kids would state, “That one’s dead,” and laugh maniacally.

Apologies to anyone else forced to share the bus with our set of pint sized supervillains.

Because it’s next door, and awesome, my Where Will We Go Next Guy function pulled us all into the Pangani Forest trail for a walking tour through more African animals.  We saw the silverback gorilla this time! YAY!

In the aviary cage was a singularly rude bird that would pretend to pose for each of our cameras in turn, but fly off chuckling before we could focus.

Thank you to my family who acted as excellent frog screeners in the little house in the middle with the naked mole rats.  Nothing like seeing three young girls link arms to form a mini barricade while shouting, “Nothing to see here,” at me and Grandma to know we’re loved.

For the first time in forever (to quote another Disney song) we didn’t have to run across the whole park between two FastPasses.  It’s like they moved the Festival of the Lion King to Africa just for us!  I’m still not sure how much FastPass helps with seating in this show, but until Avatarland opened we didn’t have much use for them in Animal Kingdom anyway.

The spectacle was magnificent as always, leading Rosa and Anabelle to dance the whole time.  In a rare “first time at Disney” one of the Tumble Monkeys totally wiped out doing a move.  Ouch.

As Where Will We Go Next Guy, I talked to everyone extensively about how our large sized party could only get off-time meal reservations, meaning we’d need to plan specific snacks or mini meals in the gaps most days.

This day was one example of many where we completely failed to do that.  While we were on a quest for some random food items to keep the kids from passing out, we wandered into Flik!  He wasn’t supposed to be out, and the kids were all excited about him, giving them a burst of adrenalin to metabolize the pretzels and popcorn they were currently subsisting on. 


Right next to Flik was the (on schedule) Tarzan.  Having become a huge fan of the Disney film, and more specifically the Phil Collins music in it, Anabelle was thrilled…briefly.

Tarzan was kind of on the short side, and his mannerisms didn’t quite line up with the “noble savage” or “unsophisticated but charming” ways of the animated character.  He acted more like Rain Man, leading Anabelle’s enthusiasm to dry up in a wave of, “Well, he was creepy.”

Pocahontas had gone on a coffee break as we passed her newly assigned riverside zone en route to Dinoland.  Dinosaur was closed. Primeval Whirl had the infinitely long line the awful throughput of mouse roller coasters always leads to, which sent the kids on Triceratops Spin.

Grandma went to refill the popcorn bucket, which became one of her new life goals.   Rosa crossed over to see Goofy and Pluto while the kids rode.  Kim and I stood at the exit while Dave walked the kids in, asking at the entrance if they could ride alone.

Contrary to the answer Dave got after waiting for twenty minutes (“Yes.” for those not paying attention) when they sat on the ride, another attendant told them the answer was “No” and made them get off.  Kim brought them back to the front of the line, while I dealt with the urgent phone call from my wife wanting to know why the kids got off before the ride started and were crying.

Yes, emotions were high.

Luckily, the overwhelming number of Awesome Happy Disney people easily counteracted the occasional Dinglehopper.  They apologized for the confusion about the kids riding, and let them back on the ride with Kim, and take two rides in a row.


And I didn’t have to spin high up in the air for either of them.


We came out of Dinoland, and hit It’s Tough to Be a Bug! 

Hey!!!  There’s a dolphin on the Tree of Life!!!  I never noticed that.  No wonder the Where Will We Go Next Guy always tells everyone to take their time on that line because the views are so densely packed with beautiful sculptures, instead of rushing to laugh at the dung ball.

Oh wait.  That’s me.

(The Where Will We Go Next Guy...not the Dung Ball, that is.)

We had a fun, if terrifying time.  All the kids laughed at the opening parts, and all the kids, even those who knew what to expect, were terrified by the hornet stings and grossed out by the “bugs crawling on your butt” ending.

There was much screaming, and then we exited and crossed the road to FastPass the only place left with Mickey and Minnie together.

Yup, it was awesome.

We pulled some super experienced family and child switching PhotoPass ninja moves to get everyone in the shots we needed.  At the end, we ambushed Grandma on a switch and dragged her in for a picture as well.


It had reached dangerously close to our late lunch, meaning both Pocahontas had to come back at that moment, and Anabelle had to remember she made drawings for all the princesses.  Why she didn’t remember when we ate lunch with a parade of them the day before was just another perk of parenting.

The Native American “Princess” was thrilled by her image, and was basted in enough Disney awesomeness to make the meeting wonderful for all of the kids.

With a mass of children, and multiple leg injuries in our group, I got to reenact the Savannah sprint scene from George of the Jungle and rush back to Africa to secure our three o’clock lunch reservation with Donald and company at the Tusker House.

Of course, they don’t let you check in until everyone shows up, but at least I kept us from being deleted, and the light drizzle was refreshing as I stood in the village of Harambe sucking wind.

The buffet was -as remembered- truly fantastic.  We all got to sample various new and exciting bits of African influenced cuisine…

And corn dogs.

Hey, it was late, we were hungry and they were good.

YAY Corn Dogs!

Donald was our first guest, since he recently was switched to milling around instead of standing outside in the elements and pretending he was Cinderella.

Then came Goofy, inspiring a series of (what else) goofy poses.

This used to be the only place we saw Daisy, but she’s everywhere now, so hooray for diversity…or something.  She was sweet and fun. (Duh.)

Mickey, true to his Chairman status, not only orchestrated multiple poses in detail, but mimed out birthday greetings for Grandma and Rosa; and an elaborate ceremonyish thing for Rosa and my anniversary.

Rosa wanted a second Lion King show for her birthday, but the kids wanted more time with other attractions, characters and locations. 
She left ahead of us to catch the show, and had no idea how fortunate this decision was.  The rest of us had to test our reflexes by leaping over the projectile vomit from a kid who overdid it at the buffet.

OK, so not every moment is magical.

Exiting put us next to the Asian walk through safari.  This contained giant bats, komodo dragons and tigers, three of my all time favorite animals.  The gang was far more focused on other attractions, meaning no one else cared about it, and we didn’t take the trail.

Just pointing out a complete lack of abuse of the Where Will We Go Next Guy authority.

Baloo and King Louis were heading off to a coffee break, allowing time to buy Mickey ice creams first.

Ah - who am I kidding? There’s always time to buy Mickey ice creams!


The Jungle Book duo came back, Anabelle and I were waiting, and Kim’s kids changed their mind and ran in to be with us after a bathroom break.  The restarting of the meetings meant this caused slightly less than our usual amount of chaos.  We got pictures and the kids all got Baloo’s autograph. 

Royalty does not sign books…

And neither do apes with immobile hands.

Baloo also gave me a hug out of nowhere as we left. It’s like they have an Awesome Disney favorite movie detector built in or something.


Our groups spilt up on the way to letting the kids play in the dino dig area.  Anabelle decided to turn back at the last minute to check the single rider line on Everest.  Based on our usual levels of luck there was no single rider line that day. 

Meanwhile, Rosa already stumbled into one celebratory dance party in Africa and was making her way to a second one on Discovery Island.  Anabelle had grown past the “fun digging in fake dirt” years, and we met up with Rosa at the party.

There was a great deal of Latin theming to the music, meaning there was a great deal of Rosa and Anabelle running to join in the new night time event of Animal Kingdom.  I focused on my strengths in the dancing world, and stood still with great panache while holding the stuff.

Grandma took her knee home after dropping off whichever kids took the bathroom break with her at the Boneyard.  Therefore we tried to get the two remaining groups synched up after the party.

Calling Kim produced an almost completely incoherent answer with the words, “Primeval Whirl,” “Awesome,” “No line” and “Woooooooooooooooooooooo!”  in some combination. 

We wandered over to Chester and Hester’s to find Kim and the Girls running off of the ride to take another spin induced bathroom break.  We’d reached the two main features that accompanied the end of the extended hours nights on this trip.

A) No lines

B) The kids bleeding off the need for “run and scream time” by hitting more simplistic rides over and over.

The girls were ready to go again before Kim returned, and I volunteered to try it.  Most of it was a small fun coaster, with adequate leg and butt room for a change. The last bit where the car spun continually over a series of whoop-dee-doo hills replicated Tilt A Whirl motion.  As the Tilt A Whirl is the only ride that made me toss my cookies in a lifetime of various levels of thrill rideryness, I declared, “I’m done.” and let Kim take over.

After a few spin filled spins, they checked the line lengths and saw Kali River Rapids had negligible wait.  Kim and Dave were Roaring Rapids fans from their Great Adventure days.  I hate getting wet, especially at night, and Rosa wasn’t about to suddenly become a thrill ride fan due to a birthday miracle. With a planned trip Downtown after park closing, we threw a poncho over our daughter, and walked behind as she ran to India with them.

About half way there, we saw a young lunatic related to us come running out of the darkness frantically waving a poncho while screaming:

“I changed my mind!!!! Everest has a ten minute wait!!!!!”

Anabelle and I got to explore the mountain twice in a row.  It was quite a different experience in the dark, because there wasn’t all the delay time in being able to see when switching between unlit caverns and the blinding Florida sun. It made it much easier to focus on the dirty Wampa that was the Yeti.

Not only did we get to ride, but we found the disused corner of the gift shop that still had a few ride car toys to get one for Anabelle to match the Peter Pan and Buzz Lightyear ones Rosa and I got on our first Disney trip together.


On our way to the exit we caught the end of the Tree Of Life projection show.  Like much of Animal Kingdom it had more of an air of tranquility than the bombast of the other Park’s finales.  Once it ended and the various animals on the tree were seen to twitch and randomly shift, it became marginally disturbing.

On our way to the busses, we met up with the rest of our soggy family. Morgan clearly inherited the same “don’t like to be wet at night” genes that I did, and gave us a scathing review of their ride.  Veronica and Aurora described it in a much more giggle filled fashion.


They went back to the POP to arcade a bit and put the little ones to bed, and we went with our bigger one to the Disney Springs formerly known as Downtown Disney.

It had become much more of an upscale and snooty shopping area.


The only “characters” were some uber creepy metallic living statues that we ran past on the way to more Disneyish locations.

The World of Disney had, unbelievably, gotten larger since out last visit. Our additional planning and coordination became no match for the store of that scale, and we got ourselves and each other lost several times.  At least the Stitch on the building still spit occasionally. That side of Disney Springs was a tad less snooty.

Rosa planned to use her Landry Membership Birthday coupon as an excuse to see the animatronic innards of the T-rex café.  Their smoothie machine was broken, messing up her initial plan. 

The lateness of the evening, and the exhaustedness of us, messed up other plans, including trying the Rainforest Café across Snootyville.

We staggered on to the bus back to the POP. Rosa immediately went back to the room to crash, coming from a culture used to a single large late afternoon meal.  Anabelle lives with my built in need for American standard meals, and we hit the Everything POP food court for a late night dinner before crawling up the stairs back to our collapse inviting room.


Dina Roberts said...

I just wrote a comment, but it didn't go through. I think? If it did, you'll get two similar comments.


Very rude bird. Kind of manipulative. Or at least attention-seeking. Probably has abused many tourists.

I'm sorry you didn't go on the trail to see your favorite animals.

Gross about the vomit!

I'm glad we are on the same page about Disney Springs. I agree that it just looks like another ordinary snooty shopping center. What were they thinking with that?

Jeff McGinley said...

All good. Single comment present and accounted for.

You have to wonder if the animals figure out how to do that on purpose.

Thanx, Almost all animals are my favorite animals, as long as I'm in Disney, I'm happy. And (foreshadowing) I got a bonus walk through the next time we went.

I blame the same marketing that filled every Disney shop with tshirts and stuffed animals, because that's what they sell the most of. I still miss the Main Street Magic Shop. I'm in no way a nightclub person, but I liked Pleasure Island for the variety. (And Adventurer's Club!)

Thanx again for sharing.