Day 4: The Great Park Day

Monday, December 7, 2009

We left ourselves one day in Disney to do just park rides. That meant EPCOT and DHS highlights in one 12 hour span. I know nuts.

Bro2 elected to pal around with GM & I today. So off we went with Blondie, Teen K, Giggles, stitch and Lollipop. Only Lollipop was throwing fits. She really wanted to spend the day at the pool. But her daddy promises her a swim later when we get home. The pool's open till midnight right, he asks me?

 Our first stop inside is Spaceship Earth (i.e. "that golfball thing" as my niece says). I ride with Teen K happy as a clam to show her something new. And look it's all educational just like her Tech & Communication class. She tells me "I'm so bored". Oh dear, the teen years are NOT going to be fun with this one. But by the time we get to the space part and pick our journey home, she bemoans having to get off. Oh cool, I think, she's been won over. No, her mom reveals, she just doesn't want to get up. Yup, teen years definitely not gonna be fun.

Next up is Soarin'. It's getting late (all that dithering about in the morning) so I know Fastpasses are gonna go quickly. I send someone to test Track to grab FPs. Bro2 volunteers and we hand over half our tickets. Then I grab FPs at Soarin for the rest. We're just about to enter the line when Bro2 calls. He says he took a wrong turn and ended up in France. He's just gonna walk around the countries to get to Test Track. Ok, whatever, see ya.

I hang up, unphased, and ask Blondie and Teen K if they've known him to be "directionally-challenged". They regale me with stories of how lost he gets all the time. Before the end of the 2nd story, he shows up. Boy that was a fast run. No, he confesses he was just winding me up but didn't get the reaction (or over reaction) he expected. I guess I'm learning not to pay that much attention to my brother.

NOTE: Little sisters everywhere take heed. when that brother is annoying the heck out of you with incessant teasing listen to your mother. Ignore him and he goes away looking for easier prey. In my case, I just thought my brother was an idiot and knew I wasn't.

We don't have enough passes for us all to ride this time so GM and Bro2 elect to go have coffee in Seasons while I take Blondie and the kids with me. I prep stitch to look for the hidden Mickeys in the ride. They all love it and want to go again. But first we stop for lunch.

Sis texts she's followed us to EPCOT but is in the Seas. Bro1 is at Ohana's and texts me a reminder about riding Toy Story Mania later with his kids. Hmm, I see the Lights, Motor Action Show starts in an hour. Ok, we don't have time for more EPCOT right now. We'll hop.

And off we go to England and the International Gateway. Hop a ferry and we're in DHS.

We take them around the TSM route. Somewhere by Mickey's Hat, Bro2 and Blondie mysteriously vanish. Actually, Teen K reports they saw us, with the 4 kids well-in-hand and promptly veered off in a different path. Hmm, interesting.

Upon hearing that GM gets the idea to head straight to our favorite bar. The bartender at the Backlot Bar knows us. GM gets our signature "Car stunt Show adult beverages" and I lead the kids over to the show entrance. Bro2 and Blondie find us (to their dismay, I wonder?). when GM arrives with our drinks Bro2 gets jealous. See this is what happens when you ditch us. You lose out on all the cool insider treats.

Bro2 heads over to get some "adult beverages" for he and Blondie. The kids are looking a bit sad, so I offer to get them some Frozen Mickey ice creams. By the time Bro2 returns with drinks in hand he has a bit of a surprise. He's carrying a third "kid0friendly" cold beverage... for.. his.. kids... Hey, where'd you get that ice cream?

Yup, ditch me and you lose ALL the special treats. Undaunted, bro2 offers "tastes for tastes" and the kids eagerly offer up bites of their ice creams for a blue slushie.

Sis texts. They followed us to DHS. No Lil Spielberg wants to see Indiana Jones with his dad and she's coming with Footballer. We catch up at the show entrance and take our seats on the first level. We have 7 newbies with us this time as none of Bro2's family has seen this new show and Sis missed out the last time on account of Lil Spielberg freaking out. (See October '07 trip report.)

I get 3/4ths through the show when my phone buzzes. It's Bro1 arriving for his TSM ride. A whispered word to Sis and off I go on a beeline for TSM. Trouble is Bro1 isn't there yet. We trade texts. He stopped to see the High School Musical show and would be there in just 10 minutes.

Ok, here's my quandry of the day. I have a pass that lets me take 5 people with me on TSM at a time. Trouble is I have 9 nieces and nephews and they all want to ride with me right now. Ok, I can handle back-to-back trips. No problem, right?

Bro1 arrives just 2 minutes before Bro2 and the rest of the kids. Ok, I'll take Bro1's family on the ride. They love it. The wheelchair lane is a tad backed up but it isn't horrible. Of course, outside it's the most heinous thing that ever happened. GM is trying to keep the peace as the 6 remaining kids decide which one has to stay behind. And what is taking me so long inside?

I get out around 5pm. Osborne Lights begin in half an hour. GM is waiting with the 5 chosen kids. The others went off to ride Great Movie Ride. Brave soul that I am I take those 5 kids back into the ride and send GM on his way to see Osborne. Now the wheelchair line is really long. I've never seen it this long before. And they only have one wheelchair car running.

I pair Teen K and Stitch together, then Lil Spielberg and Footballer, Lollipop and I will ride together. It's Bro2's kids vs. Sis's kids, vs. the youngest daughters. Unfortunately Teen K and Stitch are not getting along. After a little shove match the teams switch. Teen K & Lil Spielberg vs. Footballer & Stitch. Now all we need is a wheelchair car. What happened to that wheelchair car?

20 minutes later, we're now the next ones up to ride. Only the family ahead of us, the ones with the rented Disney ECV have elected to use the wheelchair car and a manual chair. The CM comes over to me to tell me it will be another 20 minute wait. She tells me this in front of 5 kids who have already threatened bodily harm to one antoher because they are B-O-R-E-D. I swear, I coulda killed that CM. I bet she waves red flags in front of bulls for fun.

Ok, distraction time. I know, Disney trivia. Let's play. And so commences the longest game of trivia ever.

Finally it is our turn to ride, only the CMs have changed over and they've got a newbie on board. In their infinite wisdown with the wheelchair line backed up about 15 groups deep, with the only ride in Disney that requires a total car break down and rebuild for wheelchair loading, they decide it is a GOOD time to train a newbie!

Patience. Must. Have. Patience.

But then they load us in our car, the little gate thing turns and we realize the newbie forgot to shut the kids' door and (MUCH WORSE) lower my gun arm. The kids slam their door shut and the vehicle takes off with me shouting out (for every guest to hear) "YOU FORGOT TO LOWER MY GUN ARM! I NEED TO SHOOT SOMETHING!"

Yeah, I've lost it a little. But if you had just spent the better part of an hour entertaining 8 kids, texting and negotiating with 6 adults in the world's longest ride you'd lose it too. Fortunately, the CMs at the regular entry boarding are well-trained and take over. Our doors are secure and my gun is put in reach.

For the record my eagerness to shoot pays off. Lollipop and I trounce the boys, even the professional video players. And we come away from the ride with a nice photo souvenier:


By the time we exit, it's dark and Osborne Lights are well under way. GM, bless his heart, remained exactly where I left him waiting for us outside the ride. I guess he just knew I could use some backup. (Or else the CMs inside tattled about the crazy lady with the feather hat and bevy of kids.)

A couple text messages later and we catch up with Bro2 & the other adults at Osborne. I wanted to spend a long leisurely walk in the place enjoying the atmosphere and looking for hidden mickeys. Trouble is it's really really crowded and the adults have been there a long while waiting for us. They want to move on to EPCOT and get in a few rides.

Bro1 texts me he's already on the ferry and don't forget you promised to take his group on Soarin'.

Hmm, park is closing. The ferry line is really backed up. Ok, I can hoof it over on my wheels. I take off like a shot in a race for Soarin'. If I get there in time, I'll be able to ride test Track with Bro2 before fireworks.

It doesn't occur to me there's a bus. Nor does it occur to me that Bro1 would not be waiting at Soarin' this time. But it does occur to me that my power is dangerously low. As I speed past the Boardwalk, I lose all but 5 of my lights. I get into the England and promptly lose another light. By the time I reach the land, I'm down to 3 little red lights. I have enough juice for about a mile. I get downstairs to look for Bro1 and he's not there. Ok, I'll text him. No response. I'll phone him. No answer.

In frustration I text Bro2. Made it to Soarin'. No sign of Bro1. Power very low.  Staying put till 8pm then ditching him to head for fireworks. May have to push me home.

10 minutes later Bro2 arrives with GM and the girls. Bro1 luckily shows up a minute later. They're all feeling a tad guilty for leaving me with so little power. No prob, where are those fast passes we collected for later. Ah GM has them. Ok, we have 10 people with us? Cool we can all ride this time. Then I go for my fireworks spot. I am not missing that.

The rest of the night is spent with me and GM finding a spot by the lake. Unfortunately there's another big crowd around. Are they following us?! And as for the rest, well Bro2 calls it the "Great Cousin Swap". This one wants to ride Test Track, that one Mission Space. They don't care which adult goes with them. They just grab a chaperone and go. And when Sis sits down to eat at the electric Umbrella, Giggles invites himself along to eat all the leftovers. (That boy can eat and eat and eat.) Blondia went for a walk around the countries and caught a bit of the Candelight Processional.

Bro2 went on a churro run for me (The only thing I asked for as compensation), unfortunately Mexico is all out. No matter. By fireworks time, Giggles, Stitch and Footballer have made their way over to join me at the fence. With the lights on our chairs, it's very easy to spot us in a crowd.

Giggles insists on taking the video tonight, certain he can do a better job than his sister. She misses the high fireworks, he films in what I lovingly call "swirl-o-vision". I don't care anymore. I'll be back at New Year's and will bring extra cameras. What's important is that we're all having fun.

The fun continues back at the resort. we get off the bus at 10:50pm. The ravens are playing Monday Night Football. Artist's Palette closes in 10 minutes and I'm jonesing for a mug refill. Giddy as can be, I lead a mad dash up to Carriage House for food and beverages. My power is still red but not blinking yet. Heck, who cares if I run out of juice. My family is around to push me back to safety.

GM, Giggles and I hold up in our room eating and watching the game. Bro2 takes Lollipop on her promised late night trek to the pool. Her siblings and cousins join her, as do my siblings. Bro1 had tried baiting me into watching the kids while he and Bro2 watched the game. I followed that cherished adivce for little sisters and promptly ignored him. But I did text him updates.

Unfortunately the game did not go well. Red walks by our door and hears us yelling. Nope not well at all.

But at least the day, and I think the trip went very well. Tomorrow, we all go home.

Onto Day 5: The Long Trek Home