The problem with not having time to sit down and write these is that everything has blurred together, and I can't remember much of anything now... Let me try to piece these past two days together.
Yesterday was Animal Kingdom day. We began the day being able to sleep in, which was around 7 or so.. We got up, got ready, and headed out. When we got there, the first place we decided to try was the first show of the Lion King. As we got there (45 minutes early) not a person was in site, so we played on the stairs (see video I posted yesterday morning). While we were playing around on those steps, one of the Disney workers started chatting with us. Leslie took Emily to the bathroom, and while they were gone, Benjamin in all of his cuteness (a rare moment.. :) smiled at the worker. Shortly after, she asked if we wanted to be the "VIP Family" for the show.
Now, any other family would have jumped at this without hesitation. However, I knew better.. "Yeah, so, we'd love to.. but.. what exactly does that mean?"
"Right, well, does that mean you talk to her during the show? As her any questions? Stand her up? Give her anything? Look in her general direction from anywhere closer than sixty yards?"
"... Well, you get to go in first and sit on the front row."
"... Uh, yeah." (I could tell she was sorry she asked in the first place at this point."
"Great! We're in! But remember all that other stuff, none of that then, okay? Great."
So in we went early. One of the videos posted should show us going in, if you get a chance to see it. The show started, and instead of asking Emily anything, they asked me to get up and snort like a warthog in front of our group. Enjoyable to me, still freaked Emily out.
The rest of the show was unbelievable. Dancing, singing, and Simba was there! Emily was especially impressed at Simba's ability to dance and sing.
After the show it was time for the Rainforest Cafe, so we headed down there. I've realized in my old age that the Rainforest Cafe doesn't hold near as much enjoyment to me as it once did, but oh well, at least the monkey's made noise and all.. Nothing like a $42 cheeseburger to brighten your day.
After that we decided to venture through the "Tough to be a bug" show. Yet another wonderful mistake in the sea of many this trip.. The torture began when the theater was engulfed with smoke, the lights went out, the seats started spraying us with something, and spiders came down from the ceiling. Don't remember it being near that terrifying the last time through, but let me tell you, good times there for a 5 year old and 16 month old!
Surviving that adventure, we headed over to the Nemo musical. This one was tremendous as well, Not quite the stream of tears achieved at the Lion King, but certainly a constant mist. Every event or show we see here continually reminds me of how well things are done here at Disney World. It seems that every moment of every day is planned and designed to be bigger than life, and it scores every time.
After the Musical, Papa Vinny arrived! We found him at the front, then headed back inside for more fun. At this point in the day, now that I look back on it, is where we should have packed up and headed back for a nap. Instead, the series of events that unfolded after led to total physical and mental breakdowns, unmatched by most I've seen, ever.. anywhere..
With Papa Vinny we started by finding a spot for the Animal Kingdom parade. This was about 40 minutes of waiting on the side of the road, and while the parade was wonderful, it took a toll on both kids, who were visibly worn by the end. Did we head back then? Oh no, it was still time to press on, as we wanted to listen to everybody who had told us to push on, at all costs!!!! Well, it cost us alright.. :)
Now that Papa Vinny was able to lend a hand, we decided to take Emily on the Rapids! About ten steps from the line, Emily fell and busted her knee. Stop there, nah... why at this point would we? We carried her to the boat and threw her on with us. Before the ride began Leslie, with her amazing packing skills (and the Power's great help by loaning us some) whipped out Panchos for us. Me? Pancho? Are you kidding? That hot nasty thing will just stick to me, and I won't get wet anyway.. Oops.
Emily, while enjoying the ride as best she could in her almost-coma-stupor was still in agony over the whole knee thing, so we decided THEN to head back for a nap. So, we loaded up, got back to the hotel, and took an hour nap before getting back up to head to Epcot for dinner and the fireworks.
As bad as the decisions before were to press on, the moment we decided to wake both children at 6 PM and drag them both back to the park will take the cake for this trip's mistakomatic prize. They were MISERABLE from the second they got up from their beds. Papa Vinny was nice enough to play along as we dragged them onto the bus, into Epcot and over to the Biergarten restaurant in Germany. I had managed to get reservations at the last minute for it, and it was a great place, so we tried for it. I think I had about three bites total that meal, and we were all pretty miserable throughout the entire meal. My favorite part of that meal was that Emily wanted so very much to be excited, she kept asking me to go dance with her with the polka music. I'd get excited with her, and we'd head down to the floor. She'd get down, dance about three steps, realize how extraordinarily exhausted she was, and just collapse in a heap of crying, jumbled goo. I'd scrape her off the floor and head back to our seat... two times we did this, then it was time for me to go. I took her outside and kept her almost calm while we waited for the rest of the family.
So, another great mistake in this long line was me not remembering the FIRE in this fireworks extravaganza. Have I mentioned how much Emily is scared to death of fire? Yeah, so you can imagine the outcome of that one. We got out of there as quick as we could, got back on the bus, and back to bed. Whew.
Now, this morning we got up around 8. Emily could barely hold her excitement as Leslie got her hair ready for breakfast with the princesses! We got dressed, and headed out, just the three of us, while Papa Vinny stayed back with Benjamin. I cannot imagine how we would have survived this morning with Benjamin with us, so for every attempt for me to keep Papa Vinny away, telling him we wouldn't need his help... This morning, and being able to spend it with Emily and not having to worry about Benjamin, made this trip the trip of a lifetime.
We got to the castle and checked in, only to find out we still had about 20 minutes to wait before we could go in. We decided to shop for a bit, and as we turned the corner in the back of the castle we ran right into Fairy Godmother! At this moment Emily turned a corner in the whole "No pictures, no way" attitude and wanted a picture with Fairy Godmother, so up we went! It was wonderful! As soon as we were done, it was time for breakfast.
We went in, and the first room, as soon as we entered, we saw Cinderella! She was waiting to get pictures with all the little princesses, so we got in line. I tried to hold both the still camera and the video camera as Emily got up to her, which wouldn't have been too much of a problem, other than the fact I couldn't see a thing with all the tears filling up my eyes and streaming down my face. I still haven't looked the pics/vids, so hopefully they turned out.
As if that wasn't magical enough, we then went up the castle tower to the breakfast room, and while we were eating, Snow White, Sleeping Beauty, Belle, and Jasmine all came up to spend time with Emily! There was one moment I wish I would have been ready with the camera for, but missed entirely. Emily had leaned back in her chair, her cheek against the back, and her eyes showed complete and utter contentment and enjoyment. I've never seen a look quite like it in Emily in her entire life, and watching her react to those Princesses was one of the most magical moments I've ever seen.
We finished up, walked downstairs back to the room where Cinderella was, and noticed that while the room was now empty, her chair was still there. We decided to sneak on it and take a couple quick pics :)
On our way out and back to the hotel there was another parade, so we watched that for a bit, but Emily was too interested in "some shopping" so we went to the Emporium and picked up some princess figures, which she kept two of for the remainder of the day.
We got back to the hotel and were treated to lunch from Papa Vinny, then back out to see the Disney World Parade (the REAL parade as Leslie likes to call it.. not this party parade stuff we'd been seeing).
We got back to the Magic Kingdom, and waited for the parade at the entrance. As if we hadn't had enough crying already, here came all of the characters around again, dancing, singing, smiling and waving at Emily. She'd scream at them, hoping for a glance or a wave, and when she got one, her eyes would light up and she'd jump around with excitement... It was almost too much to handle!
Leslie had been looking for a Woody Doll for Benjamin, so after the parade we headed over to the only place we thought we'd find one, Frontier land. Sure enough, we found a great one, and his reaction to getting that was about as magical as seeing Emily's reaction at breakfast. It was nice to finally see him not so oblivious to everything going on around him!
Ugh, lots to tell in this post.. Getting tired.. Must press on! Anyway, after the doll we stayed around for a show in front of the big castle, then headed on to the monorail to Epcot.
Now, at the end of breakfast this morning, Emily and Leslie went back to the hotel, and I decided it was time to try to get a fast pass to "Soarin" over at Epcot, and maybe we could get back there later. So, I got to Epcot, only to realize I had given Leslie's and Emily's tickets back to them, so I couldn't get fast passes for them. I decided to try guest services in the hopes that I could work something out, and wouldn't you know it, yet ANOTHER person working here who was willing to do ANYTHING to make sure we were having the time of our lives! He made two new id's for Leslie and Emily, so I could use them on the fast pass!! I ran over there, swiped them, and had our tickets for later!
Now, back to Epcot at night. We got there around 6:30, and while Papa Vinny and Benjamin went on the boat ride near Soarin, Leslie, myself and Emily headed into the big ride. We ended up next to a very nice family who we chatted with for a while who knew EVERYTHING there is to know about Disney World (they have the 800 buck year passses...), and took their advice to get on the front row. It was worth it! The best part was that when we were done, the family showed us their "special" pass to get them in the ride without waiting again! So Emily and I took them up on it.
After the second ride it was getting late.. again.. so we ran over to the mexican restaurant we ate the last time we were there and managed to eat just before the fireworks again tonight. Both kids were about to pass out (Benjamin already had) so we got back on the bus and headed back to the room.
Whew! I left out a lot, but that's all I can muster for now. Just two more days!