Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Disney Day Two

Animal Kingdom
The week before we left? 85 degrees.

The week we came home? 85 degrees. The week the Johnsons were there? 30 degrees.

Folks, it was cold in central Florida. Hat and gloves and parka cold. No joke. On Wednesday when we hit the Animal Kingdom park for the day the high was 32 degrees with a wind chill of 14. Lovely.
(Still fashionable in the cold.)

We went to the first of many character meals that I scheduled for the week (bonus points on the Perfect Mommy Title Ranking for 2008). We ate at Donald's Safari Breakfast Buffet at The Tusker House in Harambe, Africa. This is where the kids discovered a new 'favorite': Mickey Mouse Waffles.

Let's Animal Kingdom we did all sorts of interesting things. The parade was number one with the kids. It was bitter cold outside, but we had a really nice time.

We left after the parade for a rest, then came back for dinner reservations at the Rainforest Cafe. This was by far the best and most relaxed meal we had the whole trip. I told the woman at the check in counter that we'd had the worst table in "Mexico" and that I'd wait for a good table, and she seated us in record time at a place that had a view of the whole goings on in the building without being too loud or in the way. It was excellent!

But the funniest/worst thing also happened at Animal Kingdom on our first official Full Day. It was the late hours park at Disney that particular day, so resort guests get these snazy arm bands and get to stay in the parks later--in this case three hours later--than the regular park closing. So, because it was bitter cold, everyone with any sense went home. But because we are Johnsons, we stayed. Alone. From 8:00-11:00 p.m. Alone. As in no one else in the park.

Now, on first glance, this was a monster huge one-up on our vacation. We walked right up to characters to get autographs, we didn't wait in any lines--it was--to quote the great Carter Johnson--"Totally wicked." But we fell into a trap, friends. See, I bought this book before going called "Disney With Kids" that's full of tips and suggestions that were truly a blessing and made the trip much better for us. One of the handy dandy features of this book is a section that rates the rides. It gives them exclamation points for "scary factor" so that parent's can better decide if their kids are ready to ride certain rides.

I know I'm qualifying in an early heat for Perfect Mommy 2008 (Hey, I took four kids and my mother to Disney the first week of the year. Top that.), because I'd put together my master list of things to see in each park and had specifically crossed some out that were "too scary". At the top of that list crossed off in red marker was a ride called Dinosaur which said that it had loud noises, darkness, and some troubling images.

You see the trap yet? The park was empty. There was no one in line. It's our first day. So we walk up to the ride and The Husband says, "I'm sure it'll be fine, I mean, we're at Disney; how bad can it be? Let's do it." It's not his fault. I said yes.

So, in the front car of this ride sat Elise on my left, Mommy in the middle, and Carter on might right. In the car behind us sat Elaina and The Husband.

What the description of the ride should have said instead of "loud noises, darkness, and some troubling images" was this:

"Guaranteed to have your children sleeping between you from now until college!"

Darkness? Try can't see anything half of the ride, but things breathe and snot on you in the dark.

Loud noises? Dinosaurs scream, shriek, and chase you the bulk of the ride.

Troubling images? Yeah, I'd go with that. That big three-story tall dinosaur slinging the small dinosaur back and forth in its jaws as it ate it was pretty troubling. Especially if you're FIVE.

The best part was the gigantic dino that almost ate us at the end. It's head was as big as a Toyota truck about oh, two feet from the front of where we were sitting. They took a photo while we were on the ride, and me and The husband are laughing wildly because we know what a monumental disaster this is and the three kids have their hoods up over their heads, faces buried, screaming and crying in complete terror. (I think this might have actually run me into the negative column on the Perfect Mommy Title.)

And the bonus that just kept on giving? The entire rest of the vacation, every single ride we went on, Carter Johnson asked, "Does this ride get really dark? What happens when it gets dark? Is anything going to chase us on this ride? Does anything have teeth in there?" I"m talking we're in line to see the Little Mermaid live show and he wants to know what happens in the dark parts.

And the best question? "Are there dinosaurs in this ride?" (bad Mommy)

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