Saturday, July 31, 2010

Star Date 2010.0731

Star Date 2010.0731 -
Day five. A day off. On Thursday we had planned to spend a final day at whatever part of Disney we liked best, but we were whipped. So we spent the day hanging around the pool and generally taking it easy, which worked out perfect.

Then Friday, now with Rita as well as Zoe in tow, we zoomed into Hollywood studios for an early morning arrival at Hollywood studios. We never got a chance to hit up the two biggest rides there, the "tower of terror" and "toy story midway madness" . Unfortunately it was a "magic hour day", which means that the people staying on Disney property get to arrive an hour earlier than us hoopleheads who stand in line and jealously watch them parade in. So we get dropped of by Zoe and Rita, and get to stand around watching all e privileged Disney property people sashay into the park as we wait for nine am. Finally, we break through the gate. Kathleen hurries over to the tower of terror and gets a couple of fast passes. Sam and I head for toy story. The line isn't that long, and we are able to do both rides and hear over to the magic kingdom proper by lunch time, where me meet Zoe and Rita for lunch. The crowds are actually a little bit lighter today, and we are able to a bunch more rides before we finally head back to the Nick hotel where we will spend the next two days.

Say what you will about Disney, one thing they really know how to do is move people. The whole time I felt like I was part of a well oil machine, and the most striking part is that as soon as you leave the park, all of a sudden things stop "just working" and it is only then that the genius of WDW becomes apparent. It like an iPhone. You don't appreciate it until you've spent an hour trying to get your other phone to "just work."

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Thursday, July 29, 2010

Star Date 2010.0729

Star Date 2010.0729 -
Day four. Fourteen hours at The magic kingdom. Aka disney kicked our collective butts!

This was the big day. We were on the road by eight thirty and didn't return until almost eleven. In between it was Disney, all Disney. I have a ton of photos which I will be uploading once I return.

We did EVERYTHING! Space mountain. Splash mountain. Small world. Pirates. The parade. Fireworks. Funnel cakes. Thunderstorms. Heat. Crowds. Saw Rich and Beckie. We entered the park full of life, and left many hours later as hollow empty shells filled up with Disney memories, all of it pure rainbows and unicorns. It was a magical day. More later, but now I must rest.

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Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Star Date 2010.0728

Star Date 2010.0728 -
Day three: Hollywood studios. Crowded and hot. Too much fun! Disney burnout alert! Danger will robinson! Alert! Alert!

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Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Star Date 2010.0727

Star Date 2010.0727 -
Day two at Disney: animal kingdom and sea world.

It is funny how the vacation impulse can become as dangerous as an all you can eat sushi bar.

Today we braved another day with heat indexes in the 100s to go to the animal kingdom. The highs were "dinosaur" and the "kilimanjaro safari". My personal low was the "everest" ride with the backwards roller coaster and the vertigo fueled nausea it produced in me. Lunch was at an expensive, forgettable Quasi-Indian restaurant, the most memorable part of lunch was the air-conditioning.

Still, the experience was amazing. Disney is mesmerizing, it is hard to take it all in.

That evening with met up with Ed and Rita who had a special dinner and a show at sea world. We had a special dinner overlooking the huge shark tank, and then saw "shamu:rocks" which was extremely hot and mercifully short. Pj amazed us with his ability to recognize and identify sharks on sight. He spent most of dinner staring off onto the tank and taking pictures.

Today, we head off to Hollywood studios for more disney excitement. The entire week has heat indexes in the 105-110 range and a crowd rated as 9/10 according to a Disney info site. This vacationing is hard work!

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Star Date 2010.0727

Star Date 2010.0726 -
Yesterday we had our first full day at Disney properties, and what day it was! We had a little bit of a late start after figuring out logistical stuff, and headed out to Epcot center. Amazing place. Kathleen had our printed plan with her, so we immediately grabbed a fast pass to "soaring", and then headed over to "test drive" a popular driving simulator. Very cool, after that we headed to "Mission:space" a space travel simulator with two levels of intensity, orange and green. Anna, pj, and I took the orange level, while sam, zoo, and Kathleen took the green. Big mistake. My older, weaker, stomach is no match for industrial Disney fun, and I had motion sickness for the rest of the day.

We finally made it over to "soaring" and a few other rides, and started to head around the lake, which has different countries all around it. We had a late lunch at a Bennihana wanna-be called "teppan edo" which had very Americanized Japanese cuisene, but e show was excellent and the children seemed to really enjoy it.

By then we had been pushing eight hours, so I took the kids back to the hotel, after stopping at the most crowded walmart I have seen in my life. It was worthy of a Disney attraction itself. Then back to the condo and the arcade, which was decided to be lame, and to the pool for a little while and then it was time for bed. wait! I almost forgot, I still had to go and get zoo and Kathleen, who were getting there Disney on until the very last hour. A quick trip back to disney, and then it was time for an exhausted sleep.

Tomorrow, animal kingdom, and sea world. A twofer! Stay tuned for details.

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Sunday, July 25, 2010

Star Date 2010.0725

Star Date 2010.0724 -
We arrived at the condo complex today, after visiting the Kennedy Space Center for the second time in as many days. We saw a ton of wildlife at the KSC, including some feral pigs, a tortoise, a Balfour eagle nest and some 'gators. It was a little depressing to see all of these monuments to the past glories of NASA, while today there didn't seem to be a whole lot going on. Still, the scale was amazing.

Another hour on the road and we arrived at purr condominium complex, and our room is this three bedroom apartment that was enormous and really well equipped. We chilled out at the pool for a while, and then made our first venture onto Disney property, which was dinner at Fort Wilderness, at this funny restaurant where the waiters and waitresses all act crazy and do funny things. Now it's ten o'clock and I am whipped. Tomorrow: Epcot.

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Friday, July 23, 2010

Star Date 2010.0723

Star Date 2010.0723 -
Having breakfast and coffee before the kids wake up. Quiet! Hmmmmmmmmmm....

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Thursday, July 22, 2010

Star Date 2010.0722

Thursday night. July 22.

After driving twelve hours and 730 miles with only five breaks, we arrive at the Jacksonville hotel and take a break at the pool. The drive actually went pretty well. Now we can chill out for a few hours and relax. Dinner courtesy of a nearby chick-fill-a, tomorrow we hit coco beach and NASA, before heading onto Orlando.

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Friday, July 16, 2010

Star Date 2010.0716

Got a call from Loudoun county transportation, and they found my iPod, and returned it! Awesome!

I foolishly lost it on the bus a few days ago and had given it up for lost. Some kind person must have turned it in, and the bus driver, who could have easily kept it, returned it to lost and found. My faith in humanity is restored, at least for this morning.

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Thursday, July 15, 2010

4th of July Parade

In the first photo PJ is front and center, in the second one Sam is holding the Orange Den 3 flag.


Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Star Date 2010.0714

So all of a sudden netflix tells me that I like "critically acclaimed dark movies about dysfunctional families. What can this mean?

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Sunday, July 11, 2010

Star Date 2010.0711

I trimmed my beard, but I guess I didn't do a very good job. Kathleen told me that it looks like I have "tufts of hair sticking out of my nose."

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Thursday, July 08, 2010

4th of July weekend

Fourth of July weekend. After the parade, we gathered in the parking lot across from the Safeway in town. We had hoped to get ice cream at our favorite local ice cream parlor, Razzles, but they were closed for the fourth. On our way to our car, PJ found a lollipop on the hot pavement of the sun baked parking lot. It was a red charm's blow pop, and it looked like it had been sitting there for a while.

"Can I have it?". PJ asked.

"No, that's gross, just give it to me, I'll throw it out."

"But it's clean!".

"No it isn't. It's been sitting in the sun for hours. And it's been run over.". It had been. It looked like a piece of taffy. PJ gave me the lollipop but he wasn't very happy about it.

In the car, PJ asked me to see the garbage bag. "I think I see something valuable in it." he said. We were also giving some other cub scouters from the parade a ride back so I was distracted, and I gave it to him.

A minute or so later, it dawned on me, and I asked PJ "PJ, did you ask for the garbage just so you could fish that lollipop out of it?

Pause. "uh, maybe?"

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