Wednesday, September 02, 2009
A Day in the Life
An assignment from my mommy board. It will look more like A Day in the Life of Noni, but I was right there wielding the camera.

A Day in the Life...August 29, 2009 from Alex High on Vimeo.

Tuesday, September 01, 2009
Vacation Randomness
Some random thoughts and facts about our Disney vacation...

The Disney property is miles and miles across. It's so easy to get lost or turned around there. I'll bet we missed our exit three times while we were there. It's not that they don't put up signs, it's just that the signs can be confusing.

It's hot in Florida in August. In case you missed that.

Our drive down took two days. We drove back in one day. We left at 7:30 a.m. and arrived home at almost 11:00 p.m. That was with reasonably short stops for gas and food along the way. Couldn't have done it without you, Noni and Popi!

Our villa was da bomb. I will never be able to afford such accomodations on my own, that's for sure. Thanks so much to Uncle B and Aunt K for getting us such a great place with their Disney Vacation Club points. You guys rock hard!

Here's some of the view from our porch.

Notice the detail on the rails.

More of our view.

My, what big eyes you have! This was Emma on our boat trip from the Old Key West Resort to Downtown Disney.

Cinderella in the parade.

Little Bo Peep sans sheep. That's why so sad.

Which one is Goofy again...?

Christmas card worthy for sure!

Believe me, Jack was well cared-for. Thank you to everyone who had a hand in helping with his care. This may be projection on my part, but I think he had a good time taking in all the sights and sounds. In this picture you can see the little personal fan we bought at Sea World.


Monday, August 31, 2009
Magic Kingdom Redux
We felt we hadn't nearly done justice to the Magic Kingdom the first day. We had a list of more things we wanted to do that would fill another day. M, Emma and I made the effort to be there at opening again. We headed straight for Thunder Mountain and planned to grab Fastpasses. We got them and then got on the ride. The wait was only supposed to be 10 minutes. That's about how long it took to walk through the wandering queue. When we got off the ride the wait was still only 20 minutes. We decided to get in line again. Once we had gone on the ride twice we felt like we didn't care whether we got to use our fastpasses later or not.

Next we headed to Adventureland. We went on the Jungle Cruise, which you will love if you're into corny puns. It was also my first encounter with a sarcastic Disney employee. Boo for him, yay for sincerity and helpfulness. We did the Pirates of the Caribbean ride next. Feh. What was it before Jack Sparrow? Still kind of lame.

We trekked across the park to Tomorrowland and were able to get on the Astro Orbiter. The 5 minutes sign was a big liar. It probably took us 20 minutes to get on it. We were impressed with the level of centrifugal force on that thing; much better than expected. M was famished so we ate in Cosmic Ray's Starlight Cafe. Awesome cheeseburger. Makes me sad for what I get from McDonalds. We ate around 11:00 a.m. so we beat the lunch crowd and were stoked for the day. Next we hit the Tomorrowland Speedway. My advice on this one is when the line splits take the left right lane (Yes, I'm directionally challenged. So sue me). It's faster.

Mad Tea Party Tea Cups were next. M had to bite the bullet and do it with Emma that time. The good news for him was he could control how fast his cup spun around. I don't think he was any worse for wear when he got off. From there we went to Mickey's Toontown Fair. This was our best chance to see characters. When we arrived we decided to begin by catching the train that circled the whole Magic Kingdom from the train station in Towntown. That was a nice ride, nothing remarkable.

When we arrived back in Toontown we tried out Minnie's house. It was lame, Minnie wasn't even there. We tried the big souvenir shop that had lines to meet some characters. The line to meet the fairies was 60 minutes and the line to meet the princesses said 15 minutes. Which line to choose...? It was all a lie anyway. We stood in the princess line for 20 minutes (air-conditioned minutes) and it barely moved. We finally gave up on the whole idea of meeting characters.

Emma and M did the roller coaster The Barnstormer. I spent some time in the gift shop, but M had all my money so I wasn't a threat.

After we left Toontown we quickly realized that the park had filled up to the point where most rides had long lines and we'd done most of what we'd wanted to do. On Popi's behalf we took Emma back over to Frontierland to see the Country Bear Jamboree. That hadn't changed in thirty years.

We decided to meander our way back to Main Street and do some souvenir shopping before we left. On the way Emma caught the Magic Carpets of Aladdin ride twice more while I took my turn to see the Enchanted Tiki Room.

We stopped at a Bakery on Main Street USA and had pastry. Then we hit the shop, loaded up on goodies for the final time, and headed home. While we were doing that it rained on their daily parade and drove lots of people indoors. Plenty of people headed for the exits, but not enough to make it unpleasant. We headed back to the villa and I spent most of the rest of the afternoon packing for the trip home.

High in the air on the Astro Orbiter.

M holding on to his lunch.

Sweatin' on the train ride around the park.

In front of the Magic Castle with the top of the castle strategically cut out of the picture. They had moved in a big crane that was doing repairs up top.


Sunday, August 30, 2009
Blizzard Beach
Blizzard Beach was not the day I was most looking forward to. Running around in my swimsuit all day is not my idea of the most fun possible. However, as in the past, I soon realized that I'm not the worst thing there so I should get over myself. I was mostly there to make sure my kids had a good time.

Uncle B, Aunt K, and Little J did everyone the service of going to the park at opening to secure us a good spot in the shade. They also wanted to do the best slides before the park filled up. In any case, it worked out great for the rest of us.

My favorite part of the day was the lazy raft ride around the whole park (Cross Country Creek). Everyone in the family went on that one except Aunt K and Jack. The two big slide rides I did were a family raft ride (Teamboat Springs) with the ladies and the Toboggan Racers. We split the family in two sets for that one. I got a strawberry on my knee and soreness in my shoulders for two days from the toboggan race.

Emma split her time between Tike's Peak and the Pre-teens section, Ski Patrol Training Camp. She did slides and raft rides and swam and generally wore her daddy out keeping up with her.

Jack took his first ever dip in the pool. We took him to the wave pool, Melt-Away Bay. M spent a goodly amount of time playing with him in the shallow waves. Jack seemed to enjoy it.

We had a very lovely day. Uncle B had bought each family a "bottomless" soda cup so we all drank our weight in diet cola in the hot Florida sun. The shady spot was lovely and I spent a good deal of my time there. I'm proud to say that I went through my entire week in Florida without getting a sunburn. Yay, me!

We left the park in the afternoon and went back to the villa for showers. We all went out to eat at a Lone Star restaurant. They must hate groups there because they put us right by the kitchen door. I got to enjoy the music of clanging dishes my entire meal. The food was OK, but the ribeye was really greasy. I rarely order steak when I'm out so this was pretty disappointing.

When we got back to the villa Noni and I decided to head to the Disney shop in the Old Key West hospitality center. I bought some souvenirs and goodies for Christmas gifts. The rest of the evening I spent in our living room laughing to myself as everyone but us debated their plans for the next day. M, Emma and I planned to go back the Magic Kingdom. The rest of them couldn't make up their minds what to do. It was pretty entertaining to listen to their discussions.

Jack's first dip.

Jack's first slide.

Emma having a fantastic day.

She looks so grown up to me.

Going down the intermediate slide in the pre-teen area.

Jack and Popi people-watching from the bridge. You could watch the people floating on the lazy river underneath the bridge.

Living the high life.