Monday, December 11, 2017

Disney 2016, Day 8 - Though Our Lack of Sleep’s Appalling, Extra Magic Hours Calling, To Get Back to the Park We Have a Dream

November 11, 2016

The shifted hours for the armies descending on Florida had pushed opening time back to Eight AM to begin with.

The night before, in a rare burst of sanity for our family in Disney, Grandma informed us there was no way in hell she would make Crazy Early Seven AM Extra Magic Hours.

Dave shared this burst of reason and was not going to force his children (younger than ours) into a deeper state of exhaustion.

My immediate family was not constrained by such rationality, and we not only made the Extra Magic Hour, but the Opening Ceremony that preceded it.

We told Kim we’d check with her and bring anyone coherent enough to join us.

The first thing I noticed when she opened her door as the sun was peeking out on the POP Century was one of her kids had fallen out of bed during the night.  They were completely burritoed in blankets and resting in a comfortable but unidentifiable mass.

The second thing I noticed was her answer about anyone coming with us:


Like most of the crowd, we hit the new Seven Dwarves Mine Train line.  With all of my experience, I am still constantly wowed by how well Disney moves people.  What looked like a monstrous mass filed into the marked thirty minute wait queue and zipped through in far under that.  Not all the interactive portions of the line were awake that early, but it was still fun and pretty.


We enjoyed the ride a second time, particularly the guys in the car ahead of us who were swaying powerfully back and forth and singing along to “High Ho!” 

The early morning exit line didn’t pass a place to scan the Magic Bands to add the ride photo to our account. Later on we learned:

A) There was a cool video of both us on the ride, and stock footage of the pretty part, meaning it was an extra intelligent decision on my part to accept Rosa’s not trying it without question.

B) The video and pictures ended up on our account anyway, because many of the rides can scan the bands all by themselves- showing Disney once again walking that line between creepy and awesome.

This meant we had multiple extra photos on our account, since we all scanned as we came off the rides…
And that’s not counting Morgan enthusiastically scanning every single station; getting us photos of the many fine and fun Instant Disney Friends we shared riding experiences with.

Rosa was waiting for us on the new, interactive Peter Pan line.  This wasn’t to allow us to cut in, but because it was that awesome and amazing.  The furnished interior of the Darling house, interactive shadows ‘n’ pixie dust, and a pile of other cool surprises waited for us as we caught up to her.

The ride was, as it always is, was, and ever will be, magical. YAY!

Rosa grabbed a print from our late night meeting in Ariel’s Grotto while Anabelle and I took advantage of the limited number of people insane enough to be awake and have a go on Space Mountain, firmly entrenching it on her “favorites” list.

We paused briefly in the gift shop to take another advantage.  This one was of Disney’s ownership of the Marvel franchise and buy the Enchantress Marvel Legend’s Action Figure.  As the prices of them kept rising, I stopped collecting any figure that wasn’t on sale for at least 25%-50% off depending on the character.  However, this counted as a souvenir, not a collection item.

Please help me.

On our way to New Fantasyland I engaged in some remote Where Will We Go Next Guy duties by texting Rosa to meet up with us, and the rest of the gang to track their progress reaching the park.  They didn’t care about meeting with Ariel again, and I switched that FastPass over to a Pirates of the Caribbean adventure deep in the midafternoon crowds.

We met Ariel bearing the photo of Anabelle’s encounter with her earlier in the week, spurring the already excessively verbal mermaid into overdrive.  We also noted the Doctor Who crack in Space and Time on the wall, connecting this underwater red head to another more Scottish one…Cool!

 Stoked with Atlantean fun, we went on her ride again, because Disney.

As more guests were returning to the land of the living, we decided to visit the Haunted Mansion again, for the same reason.


Kim’s family and Grandma had made it to the park by then, getting to experience the fun line, and magic ride of Peter Pan for themselves. They also finally got to take a Winnie the Pooh ride when Morgan was awake.


Everyone knows how much laughter and fun a four year old gets from Pooh.


We all met up in time for our FastPass at Enchanted Tales with Belle.

Veronica and Aurora got picked to be in the show, doing excellent jobs mugging and barking respectively as a painting and the dog footstool. They had a wonderful time, as did we all. 

A princess AND Jo Anne Worley, c’mon, that’s just magnificent.

After the cast photos, Anabelle, in her Belle Mickey Ears yet again, was invited along with other kids in the crowd.

Rosa and I, in our "The Beast," and “I’m With the Beast” shirts, were not.

Afterwards we all rode together on Ariel’s ride…because, still Disney.  YAY!

During the requisite pre-land-changing potty stops and stroller retrieval, we took Anabelle to see Gaston by his tavern.  The fun (in the park) villain was far too loud and massive for the younger kids.

He took in my Beast shirt, and disgustedly said, “Really?”

Then asked if I was with Rosa, and answered my affirmative with, “She’s mine now," before making fun of my biceps.

Y’know, I could get this on the playground in grammar school without paying for a ticket.

Passing into classic Fantasyland, the blasting sun suggested it was a good time for a visit to a big, air conditioned room.  Luckily, the 3D Donald orchestra movie in Mickey’s Philharmagic never has a line.

Aurora led the way shouting, “Let’s go see Fillmore’s Magic.”

I think I like that name better than the real one.

Moving a gang of nine around Disney is no easy task on lightly attended days. Getting meals at anything resembling proper spacing simply was not to be.  We tried walking up to “Be Our Guest” to get an earlier seating, and learned it was time to throw piles of Mickey pretzels at our children again to hold them over until our later reservation.  It also meant we needed to hike across several lands without benefit once again, because we clearly weren’t tired enough.

The masses didn’t increase the wait time for the carrousel, but did reduce the selection availability.  In order to be anywhere near the rest of the family, I was forced to mount the teeniest of steeds.  My appearance was nowhere near the dashing prince of a fairy tale, but rather aligned with a reject from a Ricochet Rabbit cartoon.

The crowds, the timing and the exhaustion meant the only way everyone’s agenda could be filled was by splitting up occasionally.  Kim took part of her family to the Haunted picture booth, while Grandma took the rest into the Mansion itself.  It took them far less than the posted forty minute wait time to wait for, ride and exit the Mansion. I love Disney! 


With his unceremonious firing from World Showcase, Adventureland was the last place to meet Aladdin.  He and Jasmine were on a coffee break, Rosa graciously agreed to stand with the other waiting parents, and I took my newly Tikihaulic daughter to the Tropical Serenade once more.

With forty eight hours left in the trip, I had only taken six hundred pictures on the back up camera. I was improving!

We returned well before Jasmine and Aladdin came out.  Aladdin asked if the Belle Mickey ears were, “Touched by the hand of Midas?” and basically smacked Anabelle upside the head to demonstrate.  In any case, they were a hoot.  A much bigger hoot was their belly dancing handler guy who kept everyone on line vastly entertained while waiting for the royal couple.  My guess is that he was a Character in his youth.  He still very much remained “a character” however.


Our FastPass for Splash Mountain came around, in yet another dazzling display of Where Will We Go Next Guy ineptitude. 

I set all the passes up sixty days ahead of time, because it’s me, figuring individuals could switch off from the thrill rides they didn’t want closer to the day.  Rosa continued to declare her previous two trips down to the briar patch were, “Twice too many,” and was cancelling hers on the bus one day. Grandma was also not a fan, and Rosa offered to take hers off as well. Grandma agreed, but didn’t fully understand what she agreed to.

When I learned she would have tried it, I worked desperately to mobile app Grandma back onto the FastPass near our time, but the mass of humanity in the park prevented it.  Due to (yet again) Awesome Happy Disney people, when I explained what happened, the Cast Member at the entrance gave me a paper FastPass for Grandma!

YAY! Problem solved!

Except, I didn’t know that during my Where Will We Go Next Guy gymnastics, Morgan had fallen asleep in the stroller and Grandma walked him to a different section of the park.  Rosa shopped, the rest of us rode, and made silly faces at the camera, before we all met up at the O-riginal Country Bear Jamboree!


Grandma stayed awake this time!


I checked, Melvin and Buff’s mouths still moved when Trixie sang.
They totally took out the fat joke.

How sad.

We crossed Fantasyland again and made it going the wrong way but at the right time to the Beast’s Castle to eat at Be Our Guest.

This was the fastest dining experience we had on our previous trip, which is why, in my Where Will We Go Next Guy wisdom; I figured the late lunch before a buffet dinner would work.

Except that when charging to multiple rooms, the pre-order online feature didn’t apply.

It took a while to get in there, but the creepy/awesome Magic Band finding delivery was speedy, the food was absolutely phenomenal, and the place was beautiful.

Plus, the grey stuff was, as described, delicious.  YAY!

After eating, our group went beyond splintering to shattering across the various lands.

Buzz Lightyear’s meeting time was getting close to ending, and Grandma went over to Tomorrowland to get on line before they closed it. 

Kim brought Morgan to Liberty Square for her final family Haunted photo.

Rosa and I took Anabelle to Frontierland and let her use the, now extraneous paper FastPass on Splash Mountain.

I’m not actually certain where Dave took the girls; law of averages probably means it was the bathroom.

Placement of a group our size’s meals and FastPasses had us crossing various sections of the park regularly.  However, we were about to stretch our own records, and hit some individual ones, in case I had any feeling left in my feet.

I decided that it was completely wrong that I wore my Buzz Lightyear shirt for our insane seventeen hour day, yet got no picture with the Space Ranger.

I pulled the (still kinda sweaty) shirt out of the backpack (for just such an occasion- planning people…planning) threw it over my Beast one, (icky!) and power walked/ half jogged across the widest middle part of the entire Magic Kingdom, going from Frontierland, through Adventureland, a bit of Liberty Square, Main Street and all of Tomorrowland to join Grandma at the end of the line.

We explained to the Awesome Happy and very Patient Disney Person that I was with her, since the line had closed.

As we snaked our way toward Buzz, Dave came around the corner with his girls and the stroller, but without Morgan, who was the key reason for the visit.

We explained to the Awesome Happy and very Patient Disney Person that they were with us, since the line had closed.

We got closer and closer with no sign of my Buzz Mickey Ear wearing nephew.

With only a couple guests left, Kim came tearing into view from the wrong direction practically flying her son like a kite in her wake.

There’s a reason they picked me as the Where Will We Go Next Guy.

We explained to the Awesome Happy and very Patient Disney Person that they were with us, since the line had closed.

Unfortunately, that was far too much excitement for our Junior Space Ranger, and he panicked when met with the real thing.

The girls had a nice visit, and I got my awesome (if possibly smelly) picture for the Christmas card collage.


Then it was time for a larger group of us to retrace my trek.

After I sealed the now re-sweaty Buzz shirt in multiple plastic bags, of course.

Instead of bearing right through Liberty Square to reach the far end of Frontierland after Main Street, we went left to the far end of Adventureland to meet Rosa and Anabelle for our Pirates of the Caribbean FastPass.


Still my favorite ride and it’s awesome that the auctioneer remains the high end of animatronics with each refurbishment.

But they covered Grandma’s favorite leg with longer pants. What the heck?

Anabelle, Aurora and Veronica took their normal ride together positions and Morgan decided to ride with Rosa and me.

He was almost as excited as I, and we both started dancing to the famous theme.

I say almost, because my excitement led me to accidentally elbow my young charge in the face while dancing.
(Sorry, kiddo.)

But we were on Pirates, so he shook it off, and it was all good!  YAY!

We split up…yet again. 

In the chaos of the previous running around, Morgan never calmed down enough for the scary picture.  Rosa wanted to see the parade once more, and everyone else crossed the whole stinkin’ park again to reach the inspired terrible jokes of the Monsters Inc. Laugh Floor.

Except when we got into Tomorrowland, Anabelle decided she wanted to see if I’d curl up in a ball if I had to cross again, changed her mind and said she wanted to see the Parade one more time.
(Because it was, in fact, that awesome, making me not curl into a ball, and not regret sharing in the beloved horrible puns of Monsters Inc.)

We made it to the edge of Frontierland, instead of all the way back to Rosa.

Anabelle got much waving, Rosa got some birthday greetings, Kim got her haunted Morgan picture, and everyone else got to thrill to the comic stylings of Marty Wazowski, and take a return spin on the Carrousel of Progress.


We reconnected with Rosa in Frontierland, and stopped for a PhotoPass opportunity on Main Street.  The late parade and the Frozen Christmas Lighting of the castle delayed our exodus a little, but we all caught up with each other by the last popcorn cart

Surfing the mob to the monorail, we squeezed in some adjacent cars, and the girls made yet another new group of Instant Disney Friends.

Having been to 1900 Park Fair twice on every visit, we knew the way through the Grand Floridian to make it to the entrance just in time for our reservation.

Only to learn that entrance was now an “exit only” and we had no idea where the entrance was.

A bit of panicked Where Will We Go Next Guy running around later- we entered the proper entrance and without any wait were taken to table Forty-Two. (Yay!)

Anabelle had been planning for this meal ever since eating here on our last visit.

That’s my girl!

She really liked Drizella’s dress, complimented her, and said, “Next time I’m dressing like her.”

Rosa’s seamstress skills were called into play as we prepared for this night’s meeting.

Lady Tremaine was our first welcomer and properly complimented Kim’s Villain Shirt and Hat that she was featured on.

Yes, Kim did have a villain shirt for every day, but chose carefully as Lady Tremaine makes limited merchandise appearances.

We had speculated during the preparations for the trip if Drizella would be excited, due to the expected lack of ever seeing anyone dressed as her, or go into classic step-sister jealousy mode.

Our answer came while her mother was complimenting Anabelle’s choice of attire.

Drizella broke standard character greeting protocol, ran between several tables, stopping about ten feet away from Anabelle and proceeded to let blast a staccato happy incoherent scream, while pointing at Anabelle’s dress.

Then she went back to her normal rounds while we picked up the stuff we tossed in the air when the scream startled the snot out of us, before eating a bit.

Drizella reached us shortly, and led Anabelle in an extended modeling session, teaching her how to pose and mug for the camera in true stepsister fashion.


Anastasia was also excited, but a bit more reserved, worrying about “two?” when, “one was more than enough.”
Still, she decided she had a new favorite sister. She also reminded us that most kids only dress like Cinderella out of pity.

Price Charming was, well…
Charming. And also actually pretty funny.

He paused and said that Anabelle looked familiar, before walking over. Then he asked was there any reason she chose to dress that way, followed with:
“Have you met?  Bet that was fun.”

During our photography gymnastics session, Aurora went to duck out of a shot and fell clean out of her chair, disappearing out of view.

The Prince kept a straight face and maintained his regal demeanor well past when she pulled herself up from under the table.

We all noted, “He’s good.”

The theoretical star of the dinner, Cinderella arrived.  She was princessy, and wonderful, and delightful, and sweet to all the kids…
And didn’t notice Anabelle’s dress at all.

Well, some characters do need to be hired for their looks.

When the Royal Waltz was announced, The Prince took Cinderella’s hand, and Drizella charged back to our table to embark in an extended series of jumping and crazy expressions with Anabelle.

Prince Charming came back to our table when they finished to let Anabelle know, “Moves like that will get you a prince someday.”

“He’s really good.”


Anastasia came back for a final visit as well, checking under the table to insure the latest set of birthday cupcakes didn’t set anything else on fire.


We started to collect ourselves to head for the (newly designated) exit, but Veronica beat us there.  Oddly, it was after she changed out of yet another princess dress, being the only girl left in the size range catered to by Disney store official princess costumes…

Get on the ball Disney.

She was already pulled in to pose for the post dinner photo in the faux gazebo area wearing a Disney shirt, just like the rest of us who weren’t dressed like a Stepsister that night.

Once the PhotoPass ninja adventures, commenced in full force after Veronica’s solo performance, were completed, we started towards the Grand Floridian lobby.

But not before Drizella ran over for a final hug.


Oh yeah… There was food too.
As always, the food was outstandingly a cut above the high quality of other Disney buffets, and the unexpectedly insane crowd levels did not extend to this venue.

We took another of our few, but excessively necessary for the full Disney experience, Monorail Rides back to the bus stops of the Magic Kingdom.

The transport delays, and some potty emergencies, allowed us to catch the Electric Water Pageant from afar.
Woo!  YAY!
(Note: There was an actual discussion about whether to leave the “Woo” as originally written, or change it to a “Yay” for consistency with my daughter. We decided on consistency after the following exchange:
“Did you use ‘woo’ in other stories?”
“Yes, but this one has the running gag with ‘yay’.”
“Stick with ‘yay’ ‘woo’ doesn’t belong in this one…
I bet only our family has this kind of conversation.”)

And then we saw the Water Pageant again from anear.


Everyone dragged themselves back to the rooms while I went into the Everything POP food court to refill the water bottles…

And make another Instant Disney Friend who needed a lesson from a more experienced RF Mug handler.

On the way back, Grandma showed me her room hadn’t been made up. 

It was, of course, only a minor anomaly, but in the world of Awesome Happy Disney standards of customer service, the event stood out like rabbit poop in a diamond exchange.

For my second run to Everything POP food court for the night, for our mugs, I took an “almost end of the vacation” detour to check out the refurbishment in progress at the computer pool.  It looked like they were setting up Magic Band gates at the smaller pools as well as the main one.

I’m telling you, that RF Disney Chip in the Head is only a few years off.

On the way back I reveled in the awesomeness of being in a place that lets one tell time by fireworks.

Emptying my pockets revealed further proof at the transient nature of today’s goods and the loss of product life cycle time.  With two days to go, the Grid had turned into confetti.

My Disney evening musings must have distracted me, and necessitated a third trip to Everything POP that night, as my daughter’s mug was filled with brown stained hot water, instead of the hot chocolate she’d requested.

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