Avatar: Flight of Passage – Animal Kingdom – Vacation Day 3

avatar flight of passage ride, animal kingdom, disneyworld
Avatar: Flight of Passage. Animal Kingdom’s most popular ride, and for a VERY good reason. That’s an actual picture of me, btw, or at least how I felt.

Like I mentioned in the previous blog, I’m not easily surprised these days, but the Avatar: Flight of Passage ride sure surprised me.

I don’t think I’ve had so much fun on a ride in a long time.

Perhaps ever.

See, not only did Disney World do everything right getting me to the ride, but once we put on our 3D VR glasses, and the launch bay doors opened, we were taken into a whole new world.

We had only a moment to orient ourselves in this new world before we immediately fell. Or felt like we immediately fell, as the ride didn’t move like a rollercoaster, it simply gave us the impression of movement.

On the backs of our mount, called a Banshee, we plummeted into a world filled with other flying beasts, other beautiful creatures, towards floating rocks and amazing colors in the sky.

I said, without thinking, without fear, “Oh my f***ing God! Wow!”

Smells hit us as we passed into a cave, a musty, moldy smell.

I shook my head in awe. “Good lord!”

avatar flight of passage 'bikes' or saddles, animal kingdom, disney world
In Avatar: Flight of Passage, we’d be strapped into what looked like bikes but what were, in reality saddles for riding Banshees!

As the bike vibrated between our legs, like a breathing thing, we zoomed through more caverns, around trees, fought our way past some sort of angry Banshee, and then soared towards the open skies. We flew over rivers and above exotic animals, through multi-colored forests, over sparkling seas.

With each dive, I whooped like a little kid.

With each climb upwards, I looked around in amazement, muttering, “Wow.”

With each turn, I felt the wind and smelled the trees.

Incredible.

Too soon, the ride came to an end.

I wanted to be in that world, be on the back of that Banshee forever. I wanted to soar in the clouds, again, and feel the closeness of the floating islands as we rocketed around them.

But the Avatar: Flight of Passage was over.

I got off, giddy with excitement. The ride, however, would not let The-Prettiest-Girl-in-the-World go. As we all climbed off our ‘bikes,’ the restraints failed to uncouple on hers.

Now, me, I would have loved this. I’d be able to go on the ride again and again and again, and be totally happy with that, forever locked into that world, but The-Prettiest-Girl-in-the-World began to get a panicky look on her face.

I raced to the exit to grab a cast member to help her out, but just as I was about to drag one in, the ride released The-Prettiest-Girl-in-the-World and she ran past me like someone had told her the Rock was shirtless in the next room.

Despite that glitch, we all enjoyed the ride, me most of all.

It wasn’t that it hadn’t been done before (Star Tours basically did the same thing without the 3D VR glasses) but it was the combination of everything from the whole Pandoran world we had gone through to get to the ride, to the attention to the smallest details in the line-up, to the decontamination room, to the sounds and sights, and, yes, smells of the actual ride.

Avatar: Flight of Passage was the complete package.

5 stars out of 5, and just because of the vibrating between my legs.

But it was after that Avatar: Flight of Passage that we had our first bad experience, at least our first bad experience not caused by us. However, during that experience, it reminded me why I’m the luckiest guy in the world for being married to The-Prettiest-Girl-in-the-World (and, spoiler alert, it’s not just cuz she’s pretty.)

Below is what we saw, but not quite what we experienced. Not my video, but credits are in here.

Disney World’s Pandora in Animal Kingdom – Vacation Day 3

Disney World Vacations 2019 theme parks Animal Kingdom Pandora Avatar Flight of Passage
Disney World Vacations 2019 theme parks Animal Kingdom Pandora Avatar Flight of Passage
Through clever use of vines draping from the Pandora sky-islands, Disney World makes it look like the islands actually float.

At my old age, it’s hard to actually surprise me.

People doing stupid things? (I have a whole top 10 from Disney World coming up), but those things hardly raise an eyebrow. Something amazing invented? Well, of course, it’s the age we live in. A twist in a movie? Ack, I saw that coming in act 1.

But the Disney World’s Pandora area surprised me.

We arrived back at the Animal Kingdom Theme Park at about 4:30, rested, good mood restored and ready for some fun in the evening. Having a Fastpass for Avatar for 5pm, we raced to Pandora.

From the moment we stepped into Pandora, I felt like I’d gone to a different world.

It started with a great mountain surrounded by floating islands. Floating islands! So cool.

Then, as we marched to the ride, I saw they had a show with the Pandora Utility Suit (pic here.) The man inside the towering exoskeleton put on a decent show, though, weirdly, I was the only one who ran to see it. The rest of the family waited patiently with their magic bands for the 5pm Fastpass appointment while I got my nerd on.

Disney World Vacations 2019 theme parks Animal Kingdom Pandora Avatar Flight of Passage
Ah, the details! Look at the plants on the walls, the cracks on the floor, the rust on the barrel, the dirt on the storage case.

Once inside the mountain, a ton of details, big and small, made it seem like were inside an underground complex from a different world.

From the scuffed paint on the floor to the doors that whooshed open to the posters on the walls, the attention to detail was epic.

Yes, I said it, epic.

And when we were led from the waiting area into the ride, we didn’t just jump on the scooter thingee, no, we found ourselves in a decontamination room. A person appeared on the screen and explained what would happen, and why we had to do this whole avatar thing.

They scanned us (but didn’t probe us, thankfully – that’s a whole different and somewhat uncomfortable experience), decontaminated us  (complete with 4D puffs of air), analyzed our DNA, and then we were assigned Avatars. Mine looked like he’d walked into a wall a whole bunch of times, but whatever, it was different from all the other avatars.

It was fantastic.

And it was genius.

See, the time we spent outside looking at the bulbous, alien plants, or me pointing out how even the guard rails were all Pandora-ish (which, spoiler alert, no one really cared about), to the organic-looking drums the boys drummed, to the decontamination room, it all built up the expectation.

Disney World Vacations 2019 theme parks Animal Kingdom Pandora Avatar Flight of Passage
A spooky, hulking plant, but look at all the details around it. They really out-did themselves in the Avatar-themed part of Animal Kingdom

They created a world (and a ride) better than anything else in Disney World. Not entirely unique, as Star Tours still had that feeling, but it’s like they took all the best things they learned and applied it here, in Pandora.

I won’t lie, I became like The-Youngest, giddy and as excited as a boy on his first date.

Then the door leading out of the decontamination room whooshed open and, like good Canadians, we followed directions, put our packs away, sat on our bikes, and strapped in.

But ‘strapped in’ isn’t the right term. As we gripped the handlebars, braces were placed against our backs and sides. It was oddly snuggly.

Like good Canadians, we put on our magical glasses and waited.

Then the bikes began to vibrate. Right on our tummies and backs where the braces had been placed.

We waited for the doors in front of us to open. My heart drummed inside my chest.

What would the actual ride be like?

Disney World’s Animal Kingdom -Vacation Day 3 – Troubles

Disney World's Animal Kingdom, Orlando, Florida
Disney World's Animal Kingdom, Orlando, Florida
Early in the morning, the Boyz getting ready to ride the Expedition Everest Rollercoaster. Already The-Youngest is having a hard time keeping his eyes open

I had thought that our first day at the Magic Kingdom would be our toughest. We’d be jet-lagged, we hadn’t figured out how things worked, and we had no idea how the weather would affect us.

But I was wrong. It would be the day we spent at Disney World’s Animal Kingdom.

A day that almost became a disaster.

We actually managed to arrive at Disney World’s Animal Kingdom in time for the ‘rope drop’ (opening time) and made our way to our first ride. We had 3 booked for today. Expedition Everest at 9:10. Kilimanjaro Safari at 10:20. Avatar: Flight of Passage at 5:00.

So, first up, the Expedition Everest rollercoaster which had terrified me when I’d gone on it in my Joe 1.0 life. Now, older, a lot wiser, a lot less comfortable with plummeting 10,000 feet, I had zero desire to risk a heart attack, complete paralyzation or listening to myself scream like a little girl. So, The-Prettiest-Girl-in-the-World and I stayed behind.

The Boyz, however, were super keen to test it out.

They soon found out that this ride was not for the faint of heart. The-Oldest had to shut his eyes as it tore downwards like a rocket plunging to earth, and while The-Youngest said he had fun, he declined to go on it, again. Ever. Like never, again. That Yeti had really terrified him.

Still… First ride: A success, I say, a success!            

However, by 9:30, it was already getting hot and humid, and morale began to plunge like the stock market during a trade-war with China. Yesterday’s crazy day of theme-parking and a night of little sleep had left us all weary.

Hoping to shift the mood, I talked the boys into doing the Kali Rapids (since it would get them wet and cool), while we adults chose a nice, dry bench in the shade.

The rapids weren’t that great, according to The-Youngest, but they did get SOAKED with a capital WET.

But by the time we reached the Kilimanjaro Safari ride, grumpiness was settling in like a spaghetti stain on a good dress shirt.

There’ll be lions, I said. Giraffes. Elephants. Hippies. Unicorns.

But the best I got was a shrug and a look that said I’d rather be sleeping (The-Youngest) or playing the piano (The-Oldest).

The safari wasn’t quite like the San Diego Safari, this was a large zoo, somewhat like the Calgary Zoo, but with only the most popular animals on display, (yes, I’m sure there was a survey done and those poor, ugly warthogs were left out.)

Lots of pictures here!

No matter. I loved seeing the animals, I won’t lie. The giraffes were magnificently elegant. The lions were sleepy but cute. The rhinos were content that no one was trying to murder them for their horns.

Crocodiles lurked menacingly in the water. The boy elephants play-fought each other for fun. And the hippos submerged themselves waiting for a moment when you thought they looked cute and wanted to pet them, then they’d bite your freaking arm off. Those buggers kill more people in Africa than any other animal due to them being complete assholes.

Vids here.

As well, the tour guide was lovely, if very scripted, but the real bonus was that we could do this ride sitting down.

Disney World's Animal Kingdom
Tired and hot, by 11, the boys were done, so it was time to implement the NEW PLAN

Sadly, though, the animals didn’t raise the spirits of the Boyz so we went in search of food. Food usually perks them up. A bit.

I found the Dole Pineapple Whip counter which made my day since it was on my Disney Bucket List. I had mine without rum. Maybe a mistake. It was still very yummy, even if it melted all over my hands and I became that sticky, chubby kid everyone hates.

The-Prettiest-Girl-in-the-World had a dole float, which was far less messy and (surprisingly) she also had hers without alcohol. The boys, being now thoroughly in a bad mood, refused any food. They grumped at each other, at the weather, and at the food. Everything became either boring or stupid.

Oh oh.

Time to put our brilliant new plan into effect. Time to head home. Time to rest in a nice AC room. Or float in a pool. Then head back to do Avatar, maybe get some food, or maybe even see the River of Light show.

But when we got back, we found something even more fun! The arcade was open and it was free!!! (we had no idea why but weren’t going to look a gift-arcade in the coin-slot), so the Boyz played Guitar Band, raced motorcycles and zapped aliens, forgetting how grumpy they’d been.

While the boyz played, I caught up on my writing at the Pop Century cafeteria, and the Prettiest-Girl-in-the-World got to spend some boy-less time alone, meditating and thinking girl thoughts.

For the moment, everyone was happy.

But would it stay that way? Would the rest of our trip to Disney World’s Animal Kingdom be doomed?

Pop Century Resort Disney World Orlando Florida
The-Oldest and The-Prettiest-Girl-in-the-World battle it out on an old-school game. Space Invaders. The day was saved. We were back at the resort, cool, and having goofy, good fun

As always, thanks for reading about our adventures! Please like or follow for updates.

Disney World’s Animal Kingdom – Vacation Day 3

Disney World Vacations 2019 theme parks Animal Kingdom
Disney World Vacations 2019 theme parks Animal Kingdom
This is the early morning crowd, all rushing off to get in line for the most popular ride. Due to early entry, by the time this crowd arrived, the wait on Avatar: Flight of Passage was 2 hours! We went for Expedition Everest.

Forecast for Disney World’s Animal Kingdom? Lightning and Thunder possibilities around 2. Chance of sore feet? 100%. Chance of barely bearable humidity? 1000% Chance our new plan would work? I gave it 100%.

We hoped that the whole ‘chance of thunderstorms and lightning’ would not happen. Like yesterday. While that kind of storm was fun when we arrived, the thought of us standing in a line while a billion tons of water fell on us was about as appealing as taking a shower in our clothes. For 90 min. While other people watched.

None of us slept well, so getting up on time was a small, but delightful miracle. I went through my new morning routine of getting up: I banged my leg on the protruding sides of the bed about a hundred times as I gathered supplies for the day, dressed, shaved, gelled my hair so I’d look cool, packed extra waters, and stuffed our rainproof gear into our backpacks.

I had a feeling that if we carried around the rain gear, it wouldn’t rain, like primitives who crossed their fingers for good luck.

As I said in the last post, our plan for Disney World’s Animal Kingdom was a little different than yesterday’s plan for Magic Kingdom. We had Fastpasses for the Expedition Everest rollercoaster at 9:10, the Kilimanjaro Safari for 10:20, and finally the #1 ride in the park, Avatar’s Flight of Passage at 5:00.

Now, at Disney World’s Animal Kingdom, there were also walks to go on, gorillas to see or other safari walks to take, but we’d learned from yesterday that by noon, the crowds were bad, and being in the sweltering heat for 90 min drained all the fun from us.

Plus, we knew from looking at the wait times, that the most popular rides like Avatar’s Flight of Passage, The Expedition Everest or The Kilimanjaro Safari could only be done on Fastpass.

So we came up with our new plan.

What if, I mean, seriously, what if we just went back to the hotel around 11, and rested up? The boys could be in the pool, I could catch up on writing or take a nap, while The-Prettiest-Girl-in-the-World could rest her feet, have a cleansing shower or maybe hop into the pool with the boys.

Then we could head back in the late afternoon. Yes.

Disney World Vacations 2019 theme parks Animal Kingdom
The Tree of Life. Seeing it lit up at night was on my Disney Bucket list. This is the early morning crowd continuing to march toward their own goals.

On MY bucket list. 2 things. See the tree of life light up in the evening and taste a dole pineapple ice whip.

On The-Youngest’s? He HAD to ride the rollercoaster, Expedition Everest… And survive that Yeti. He wasn’t terrified of a roller coaster dropping 100’, like I was, no, he was worried the Yeti would give him nightmares.

The-Oldest? he wanted to ride the Expedition Everest without closing his eyes. I don’t know if that meant no closing them for the entire 8 min ride or not closing them when they plummeted downward at 1000 mph.

The-Prettiest-Girl-in-the-World just wanted to see the animals, eat some Yeti ribs, and have a more relaxing day. Oh, and not murder us.

So, fingers crossed, we slicked on sunscreen and boarded the bus. Outside, the weather was HOT, the skies blue, but inside, the bus was wonderfully air-conditioned.

We had hopes of another successful day, but fate had some twists for us.

Magic Kingdom – 10 Fails on the First day

Fastpass for disney world

In the Magic Kingdom, we made 10 mistakes. I hope you can learn from us.

orlando florida hot and humid sun at disney world's Magic Kingdom
Knowing it would be hot and humid is COMPLETELY different from experiencing hot and humid. We underestimated the effect
  1. We underestimated the effect heat AND humidity would have on us in the Magic Kingdom . After 8 hours, we were done. Like completely done.
  2. I didn’t get any writing done. I brought my laptop to the Magic Kingdom, but didn’t have any time to get any writing done. This stems from #10.
  3. I didn’t take enough pictures. I mean, I’ve come back from a week’s vacation with over a thousand pictures. And that’s just camping.
  4. The ‘early arrival’ thing didn’t work out as planned. I thought that being at a resort would allow us to be in the park an hour early, but it turns out, that only happens on certain days, like Magic Kingdom opening for Pop Century guests only on Fridays at 8am. Doh!
  5. I didn’t have a hat. What was I thinking? I had enough Kleenex to choke a horse, but no hat. I guess I could have made a hat out of Kleenex…
  6. We used our Fastpasses for early rides. There were no line-ups early in the morning. We’d have been better off using them for rides from 11am-5pm.
  7. We didn’t take advantage of reusing Fastpasses. See, when you’ve done all your Fastpasses for the day, you can rebook a Fastpass. Sure, the super popular rides will be booked, but the fun, goofy ones like the Mad Tea Party ride, CAN be booked, which will still save you an hour in line.
  8. Waiting in line for 2 hours, (sweating, hot, and grumpy), is NOT the way to do Disney World. They don’t have any A/C, fans or cast members waving big palm leaves to keep you cool. We thought they would understand they live in a tropical climate and take steps to ensure people remained cool, and I don’t mean, Hawaiian-shirt-cool, but cool-air cool. We were very wrong.
  9. We didn’t eat in the off times. Eating at 1, you’re eating with a billion other people in the park. Eating lunch at 10:30, you basically have the choice of seats and no one sitting beside you with a parent asking themselves, why did I do this, why did I do this?
  10. We rushed too much and didn’t stop to enjoy it all. We didn’t do badly, like when we took the Peoplemover, or stopped every so often to take a picture, but sore feet, heat exhaustion and jet lag and massive crowds made us want to leave earlier than we should have left.
Fastpass for disney world
Getting a Fastpass for the most popular rides is a MUST. Staying at a Disney Resort allows you to reserve rides 60 days in advance

Honestly, if I had to do it all over, again, I would say spend 2 days in Disney World’s Magic Kingdom to do it justice. That way it’s not all one mad rush from one ride to another, fighting your way through massive crowds.

I’d also advise going in the off-season, something we couldn’t do ourselves.

Disney World Vacation – Day 2 – Magic Kingdom Lessons

Magic Kindom's Cinderella Castle, up close and personal, disney world, orlando, florida
Magic Kindom's Cinderella Castle, up close and personal, disney world, orlando, florida
Cinderella’s Castle in the Magic Kingdom, Disney World.

I won’t lie. Despite all the planning and research, there are times when you’re going to do something you’re going to regret. In Disney World’s Magic Kingdom, at around 2:30, we made our worst decision.

Much to our surprise, the weather remained spectacularly nice, if hot and humid. The forecast for thundershowers and lightning had been wrong.

So, we decided to do the Big Thunder Mountain Railway.

Ok, it made sense on paper.

We had a Fastpass for Splash Mountain at 2:45, but we could arrive as late as 3:45 (or 4, since the app told us we could be 15 min late and STILL be fine), it looked like a lot of fun, and the line-up would be inside, out of the sun.

Sure, the wait time was 90 min, but that meant that we’d finish it about 3:30.

Plenty of time to walk 3 min to Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, right? Plenty of time.

So we got into the line.

The reality was slightly different. Yes, the line-up was out of the sun, but not quite indoors as the heat filled the open-sided building, making it feel like I was having menopausal hot flashes for a full 90 min. No fans rattled inside. No A/C. It was hot. Humid. We went through all our water.

Like cattle, we shuffled along, and it didn’t matter that Disney World had a ton of neat things to look at in the line. It was hell. People smelled. Likely I smelled.  Very few people, including us, looked all happy and full of love for this experience.

Plus, it took more than 90 min, so as the time ticked past 3:30, and we still had a ways to go, I began to stress. We were in danger of missing Splash Mountain.

But what do we do now?

I mean, we’d waited and suffered 90 min in line, but do we leave to go to our Fastpass ride? Do we make our way back THROUGH the line (the wrong way) to leave?

Or do we hope the line moves fast enough for us to get through in time?

We chose the latter, and as the line slowly snaked forward, I really began to worry. 3:40. 3:45. 3:50! But then, we got on the ride.

It was fast, exciting and fun, but I actually willed it to be faster – We needed to get off and get to our next ride.

Luckily, we did. Despite sore feet and heat exhaustion, we made it to Splash Mountain. With our Fastpass, we raced past the sweaty, hot, angry people waiting 2 hours in line for this ride, and got on.

We’d done it!

Splash Mountain didn’t disappoint, (though The-Youngest didn’t get wet as much as he had wanted to).

But the Big Thunder Mountain Railway had cost us more than a ton of time, about 30lbs of sweat, and all our water – It had sapped our love for Disney World’s Magic Kingdom. The magic was gone.

thunder mountain railroad in magic kingdom, disney world, florida
This is what menopause feels like? Hot, sweaty and angry? For 90 min? Fun times at the Thunder Mountain Railroad

As we made our way through the massive crowds back to our resort, we vowed that we’d do better.

Here’s what we learned.

  • Morning was good. Less crowds in the morning meant less time in line-ups.
  • Heat was bad. No, really bad. We’re from the West Coast of Canada so we’re not used to that heat and humidity. It saps your will to live. It saps the fun. We had to find a way to avoid that heat.
  • Going from 8am to about 6pm had totally exhausted us. Sure, the heat and crowds played their part, but even The-Youngest, our energizer bunny, chose to go back to the resort rather than go on other rides in Disney World’s Magic Kingdom. That’s gotta tell you something.

So, after lying on our beds in an air-conditioned room, we came up with a new plan for day 3, The Animal Kingdom, a plan so cunning, it couldn’t possibly fail, right?

Right?

Disney World Vacation – Day 2 – Magic Kingdom Fun

Disney World's Magic Kingdom
Disney World's Magic Kingdom
Main street in the Magic Kingdom at Disney World. We’re about to learn a valuable lesson of how NOT to do Disney

The first part of the day at Magic Kingdom had gone so well, but by 11am the crowds at Disney World had begun to grow.

In a big way.

Wait-times shown on our Disney World App went from 20 min to a minimum of 30min, and 2 hours for the super popular rides.

On the Tomorrowland’s Peoplemover, we had decided to try and do the park in a circle. Tomorrowland to Fantasyland to Adventureland (where we’d get lunch) to Frontierland, then home.

We had tons of rides we could do, but we wanted to avoid all the huge line-ups. Nothing could be worse than standing under the sun in 100% humidity for 2 hours for a ride.

Plus, it was 11am and the park closed at 9pm, so we had 10 hours. 1 each for lunch and supper, which left 8 hours. So 2 hours waiting for each ride meant we could only do 4 rides (which doesn’t include time for picture taking, walking and eating Mickey balls), and that would suck.

So we’d hit up the MUST-DO rides. At 11:30, we had a Fastpass to the famous Seven Dwarf’s Mine Train. At 2:45 we had another Fastpass for Splash Mountain. Fastpasses meant no lines. Plus, we’d learned that we had a window of 1 hour to use the Fastpass. So we didn’t have to rush, we could be there from 2:45 – 3:45.

Lots of breathing room.

Right?

First up, though, was the famous Mad Tea Cup Party, which had only a 20 min line, but after waiting for about 10, the darned thing broke down.

We didn’t wait for it to be fixed, we dodged through the crowds to the Enchanted Grotto (the Little Mermaid clamshell ride). The-Youngest, able to do the most terrifying rollercoasters, couldn’t face princess animatronics, so we waited for The-Oldest and The-Prettiest-Girl-in-the-World to do the ride.

The sun beat down on us, the sweaty crowds moving in front of us like human rivers, mostly in two directions, but every so often the river would dam up and slow everyone up. Kids shrieked with excitement or temper tantrums. Rides roared and beeped. The air smelled of suntan lotion and fast food. 

This, my friends, is the reality of Disney World in the summer.

Watching the crowds, baking in the sun with me, I realized two things. 1. Disney World in summer is hell. 2. I needed a hat. Badly! Or I risked sunstroke. Luckily, in Adventureland, while the family rode the Barnstormer, I found a good hat that was cool and not goofy at all, not goofy at all, I say.

The day was saved for me. We had super fun on the Seven Dwarf’s Mine Train, got lunch at the Boat House but I was so hot, so sweaty, my feet so sore, that I ate only a bowl of clam chowder. That was it. No epic princess cupcakes. No fruit-filled waffles. No cookies the size of my head. The chowder was all I could handle.

I wasn’t the only one. The-Prettiest-Girl-in-the-World needed a rest. That heat and humidity and constant walking took it out of everyone. So, while she and The-Youngest rested in the air-conditioned, but smelly restaurant, The-Oldest and I went off to see the Haunted House.

The Haunted Mansion line up in the Magic Kingdom, Disney World
There is always something to look at in the Disney World lines. In this case, the spooky family from the Haunted Mansion

I don’t often get a chance to have a real chat with the-Oldest, but for the hour we stood in line IN THE SUN, we had a great talk about life, about his desire to create something musical that would last, his desire to be on his own, his fear of never being good enough, and why he loved certain composers. Now, the latter is usually what he talks about, but I treasured the openness that he discussed his desires and fears.

I told him I worried he’d lose his love of music if he pursued success over creativity. Money was needed to live, of course, but what powered his soul was his love of music, of playing the piano, of composing. It would break my heart to see that love die. He had a gift, something he still denied, and I couldn’t wait to see what amazing things he’d do with that gift.

It was a great moment for me. The Haunted House? Meh. Amazing visuals, sure, but I get more scared watching an ‘It’ trailer.

The-Oldest and I returned to the restaurant where, as a family, we made our worst decision.

Disney World Vacation – Day 2 – Magic Kingdom Start

Joe and the boyz stand at the entrance to Disney World's Magic Kingdom in Orlando, Florida
We had arrived at Disney World’s Magic Kingdom! I had to hold onto the backpack of The-Youngest to keep him from running off!

By the time we had arrived at Disney World’s Magic Kingdom, everyone had forgotten that it was 6am our time and that we had slept maybe 8 hours in two days. We were here!

It took a bit of time to walk from the buses to the security check. It took a bit of time to line up, then have our bags checked and walk through a metal detector. It took a bit of time to line up, again, to get into the park.

But by 9:15, we were in!

But, as I looked over at The-Youngest, I realized we’d made a terrible error. No, not the sunscreen that made him look as shiny as an oily nickel… no… he didn’t have a hat or a siren or a sparkler on top of his head so we could find him in a crowd!

Good lord, he’d blend in with anything. Grass. Mike Wazowski . Thin air.

It would be hell keeping track of him. Like me, like Dug the Dog from Up, he tended to see something (“Squirrel!”) and runoff. I think between the The-Youngest and me, we’ve given The-Prettiest-Girl-in-the-World a permanent frown wrinkle on her forehead.

But standing inside the gates to the Magic Kingdom was, well, magical. In the distance, Cinderella’s castle, set against the bright sun and blue sky, looking like something out of faerie tale. (Wait, it IS out of a faerie tale!) Leading to the castle, Main Street, the buildings quaint with a New England theme. And in front of us, the entrance building, a garden full of flowers that make up a Mickey Mouse face, and, at our feet, ‘The Magic Kingdom’ in stones.

And, adding to the wonder, cast members wandering around in full costume or as Disney characters.

No question, Magic Kingdom was a sight, a proper introduction to Disney World.

We embraced the magic.

There were rides at Adventureland and Tomorrowland and Frontierland, and Fantasyland, there was Mainstreet and Liberty square to shop in, and there were donuts and Mickey cookies to eat and… and… and…. so much more!

Did we run off to see the sights? To ride the rides? To give Mickey a hug? No, we rushed to take a picture.

Now you can get a picture pass thingee, but at $250US, we decided to take our own pictures. But set up in all the BEST spots are the Disney photographers. Being Canadian, we didn’t jump into those spots, but shot as best we could, The-Youngest and I bouncing around like pinballs looking for neat shots.

The boys walking into a misting station at Magic Kingdom, Disney World, Orlando, FLorida
I love this picture of the boyz in the mist! Always keep cool in the summer at Disney World, let me tell you!

But we had a 9:15 Fastpass appointment to Space Mountain since I didn’t quite understand how they worked, we raced off to go on the ride, the boys slowing only to run through a water mister, again and again, and again. Space Mountain was the first part of our plan.

Now, being old, neither The-Prettiest-Girl-in-the-World or I needed to go on the ride, so the boys rode it together, but without us. They had a blast! That ride, in the dark, scary as hell, was the best way to start the adventure. While they rode, The-Prettiest-Girl-in-the-World bought a purple Magic Band (we all had basic ones that allowed us to ride the rides, pay for stuff and look like we belonged.)

When the boyz got back, the line-ups were still light for nearly every ride! So, we raced off to the next ride, the MUST-DO ride, Buzz Lightyear’s Spin.

Now, this is pure, silly fun. While waiting in the line, we looked at all the Buzz paraphernalia. It’s something Disney does so well, making it interesting to be in a line! (though later there’s a blog on what they DON’T DO so well.) Then we boarded our ships and fought off evil aliens by blasting them with, you know, blasters.

The-Youngest, having watched every YouTube video ever made on Disney World, knew what to hit for the most points and he killed us all with 138,000 to the next best, mine, at 68,500. I think The-Oldest got a score of 1,500 due to the fact he spent most of his time shooting his brother. With a laser. In the face.

The only reason The-Prettiest-Girl-in-the-World didn’t get the high score (and these are her words) “Is because my partner kept hitting the spin button on the spinner just as I was about to shoot.” That partner was, The-Youngest and, yes, that was part of his strategy!

We all had awesome fun!

By the time we left, the lines had begun to form at the best rides. We chose the Tomorrowland Transit Authority PeopleMover. Not the most exciting ride, sure, but it took us through Tomorrowland and gave us time to discuss what to do next.

In hindsight, we could have done the whole ‘Fastpass thing’ better. (There’s a blog coming on that, too!) but there were still rides that had smaller lines, and it was only 10:30. Lots and lots and lots of time to do some amazing things.

But ‘wanting to do’ and ‘being able to do’ are two very different things.

The bad-asses with newly bought sunglasses at Future World in the Magic Kingdom, Disney World.

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Plus, there are more pictures here or here!

Disney World Vacation Day 1 – Flight

Disney World Vacations 2019 theme parks
We packed like pros! We were ready for our trip to Disney World and Universal Theme Parks. Or were we?

The Beginning of the Start

We had to get up very early to catch our flight to Disney World and Universal Theme Parks.

Like 3 am early.

We wanted to have plenty of time in case things went wrong.

Things always go wrong on every vacation. Not always big things, like forgetting a passport or no place to buy coffee, but small things: Misspelled names on tickets. Luggage weighing too much. Kleenex forgotten. No charger cords for iphones (ok, that’s a HUGE thing!)

So it’s good to have some extra time to deal with any random events, and since our flight boarded at 5:45, leaving by 4 seemed about right.

To my utter amazement, the previous night, the boyz had showered, one of them shaved, and were both in bed before 10pm.

I’m pretty sure it’s one of the signs of the apocalypse.  

Being in bed that early would give them a solid 4 hours sleep. Not enough, but way better than getting just 1 or 2 hours sleep.

Then, again to my utter surprise, both boyz got up on time. No dragging them out of bed. No shouting. No use of water cannons. We did the final packing: Electronics. Chargers. CPAP machine. 40 bottles of meds, supplements, and vitamins. Some pharmacies are not as well-stocked as we were.

 By 3:45, we were all ready to go. Again, shocking. I was pretty sure I was dreaming.

We packed up, set the alarm, made sure the stove, iron and nuclear reactor were turned off, then stuffed all the luggage into the car. Vegas-the-dog had been dropped off at her spa, yesterday.

So far, so good,

We left just a little after 4.

Waiting for our flight to Orlando, Florida. We now have coffee. Life is good.

I won’t lie, I was a little anxious. Not about the drive, that was simple enough, but about all the things that could go wrong.

  • I had done online check-in for the first time and I had no idea if that would work, (though I think you could probably guess the answer to that one).
  • I had a delivery coming to the hotel that could go wrong.
  • There was the whole illogical panic of not having my wallet or cell phone or passport.

All stupid stuff, but at 4am, yeah, the panic is real.

In my other life, I honestly didn’t worry about any of this. It was just me and Margot. But with the boys and a very tight schedule, any major failure could mean a disastrous vacation. I’m not sure if it’s an old age thing, that you worry a lot more, or a parenting thing. Or both. Or lack of booze.

But we arrived at the parking lot without any problems, The-Youngest talking for the entire ride, excited and sleep-deprived, which caused one of The-Prettiest-Girl-in-the-World’s eyes to twitch, which was a bit of a concern.

The price to park cost an arm and a leg but it was efficient, secure and easy, except the pay machine wouldn’t recognize when The-Prettiest-Girl-in-the-World tried to use the touch-screen buttons. She said it was because she had no soul this early in the morning.

Inside the terminal, we hit our first hiccough.

Yes, the online check-in worked, but the kiosks where you needed to print up the tags did not work. Gack!

We had to get in line for an assistant like the other 200 people. It was too bad, too, because up to that point, Air Canada had been awesome. Awesome when I called them. Awesome with their online stuff, but at the last moment, that fleeting instant when they could have had a clean sweep of awesome, they failed with the kiosk.

But remember. We’d arrived early, so even that lineup, even the line-up at security and even the line up at the café on the other side of the check-point didn’t cause us to miss the flight or even panic about missing the flight.

We boarded the flight, ready for a great adventure in Disney World and Universal Theme Parks!

But in the back of my mind, I still wondered what would go wrong?

air canada flight to Orlando Florida disney world and universal theme parks
at 5am, I look slightly insane. Air Canada FLight to Disney World, Orlando Florida

Disney World Planning 2019

Planning for Disney World in Orlando Florida is vital to a successful vacation.
Disney World Planning is vital! See the previous post.

Together, Disney World and Universal Studios, have more rides, more cool restaurants and more exciting things to do than any place on the planet.

Want a donut the size of your head? Yup, they’ve got that. Want to ride up a mountain and come down with a splash? Yup, they’ve got that. Want to get a wizarding wand and wander around Diagon Alley and cast spells, oh yessireeeee, they have that! OMG! OMG! OMG!

Sorry Nerd attack there. Lemme take a moment.

Ok, doing Disney World and Universal in a week would be hard, if not impossible so we had to make a plan.

Me? I LOVE planning. Oh sure, I know most planning goes to hell as soon as you arrive, but part of the fun of going to Disney World is finding out what’s cool, thinking about it a lot, then going and doing it.

planning for disney world theme park planning
The family plans for the great Disney World Adventure

The-Youngest is with me on this. In fact, he’s far keener on the whole planning thing than me and ended up doing a ton of research on the rides.

He would become our official tour guide.

First I booked the flight. Holy hell, that was expensive, but I kept telling myself, trip of a lifetime, trip of a lifetime, trip of a lifetime.

Then, perhaps not surprisingly, I became overwhelmed with all the choices, the deals, the Fastpass system, the early openings, the meal plans and booking events.

So, I decided to find a good Disney World agent.

Being me, I did my research and found a great person. Her name is Alyssa and she works for Mouseketrips.com.

I can’t say enough about her. She’s been there a ton of times and knows the ins and outs. Plus, she LOVES Disney World so she’s genuinely excited for us to become Mouseketeers or whatever they’re called these days.

Then, we had to figure out what fast passes to book. Since we decided to stay at a Disney Resort, we could get our fast passes 60 days out! The fast pass allows us to bypass lines and feel super special. But we could only book 3 rides in each park, so we had to choose wisely. Plus, even at 60 days, some of the rides were already taken by annual pass holders or worshipers of Satan.

So we watched every Youtube video we could find, The-Prettiest-Girl-in-the-World brought home books from the library, and I read blogs like Disneymoms.com and hotrussianbrides, the latter of which (perhaps not to anyone’s surprise) had a complete lack of information of Disneyworld.

Having gathered a ton of information (and a few requests from the Russian brides for marriage), we had a family meeting about what to do in Disneyworld, and did what all families do – We compromised so everyone was vaguely unhappy.

To find out what we chose, check out the next post.

The last thing we had to do was find out what HAD to be done in each park.

Booking the Fast Passes was not enough. We booked a restaurant. We looked up what quick-service places to visit. We figured out how long it takes to get from point Mickey to point Minny.

Now, we couldn’t plan every minute, (sadly) but we did have an idea what would be nice to do given the limited time. I mean, if we miss the tea-cups, not a big deal, If we miss the Haunted Mansion, (which we couldn’t book a Fastpass for), then that would be, you know, a thing.

With our plan made, we were good to go.

Oh, sure, there’d be clothes that needed buying (I wanted to do the Don-Johnson-Miami-Vice look), but we’d organized as best as we could!

Bring on that donut the size of my head!

Check out the links for more help. 🙂 And a neat checklist from Lil Luna below.

Planning a Disney Trip 2019

What to Pack (really an outstanding site for a whole bunch of plannin’.)

From Lil Luna – https://lilluna.com/disney-world-packing-list/

Disney World Planning

Disney Castle, Orlando Florida
Disney Castle, Orlando Florida
Disney World. A once-in-a-lifetime trip.

So, why go to Disneyworld? Why Walt’s Wonderland? Why the Magic Kingdom? Why not the equally exciting city of Calgary? Or camping in the mosquito-infested forests of BC? Why even go anywhere?

Simple. But maybe not what you think.

See? Time is running out. The-Oldest graduates next year, and The-Youngest will (all too soon) be a YouTube billionaire, software engineer, mountain bike professional or plumber (depending on the day he’s planning this out).

So, we wanted to take advantage of a week’s vacation and go someplace amazing.

Calgary and camping don’t quite fit the bill.

Sooooooo…Disney World. Florida.

And, although there are other amazing places to go (NY comes to mind, maybe the Amalfi Coast in Italy, maybe Mars), Disney World was one place we could all agree upon.

To be fair, it’s not just Disney World. It’s a trip to see Disney AND see Universal Studios AND, maybe, just maybe, take a ride out to see the Kennedy Space Museum.

All in 8 days, including a flight.

That’s no small task.

Seems there’s a lot to see and do in Disney World (and Universal). Seems there are, like, 4 theme parks in Disney World, and in Universal, 2 parks plus a waterpark. Doing the math, we’d need 7 days, plus 1 for looking at rockets, plus 2 days for travel. That’s ahhh, lemme do the math in my head, ah, carry the two, invert pi, and, yeah, that’s 10 days.

And we have 8.

So how would we do that? How could we design a vacation that wasn’t a stresscation where we ran around desperately trying to see everything, probably literally running from ride to ride?

We would have to compromise. The simple truth was, we couldn’t see or do everything. So we began to look at what was important.

It’s why Disney World and Universal were the go-to vacation locations. The boys had already been to Disneyworld and, long, long ago, Legoland. I wrote a ton about that vacation. There was so much to see and do.

I mean, just look at what Disney World has to offer.

Rides like Space Mountain, Splash Mountain, Avatar’s Flight of Passage, a Tower of Terror, a Haunted Mansion, a ride soaring above spectacular scenery, safaris, loads of Disney characters wandering around, parades, fireworks, shops that sell authentic Dug backpacks from Up.

Then there’s eating a donut the size of your head, tasting the oddly popular dole whip, or munching on a huge pretzel in the shape of Mickey’s head.

 So, we came up with a plan. A basic plan to be sure, (that’ll be the next post), but a plan nevertheless.

All we had to do was figure out what was important to us. What did we HAVE TO see and do?

The-Youngest had a LOT of opinions. Even The-Oldest, after trying his teenage best to pretend this wasn’t going to be fun, had a few ideas. Both The-Prettiest-Girl-in-the-World and I had ideas as well, but let’s face it, this was a trip for the boyz and we wanted to make sure they had the BEST time ever.

More to come!

As always, thanks for reading this. Below is a neat video on planning a Disney World Trip.

Some good suggestions here – for people who like their planning!

Tips For a Better Vacation

Mayne Island photograph, BC, 2018

Mayne Island photograph, BC, 2018
Mayne Island Japanese Memorial Garden

Or Photography for Fun

I have a theory. Taking pictures makes vacationing more fun.

Ok, stay with me here for a moment. I’m not saying ‘live behind a camera’ and go around filming every little event (errr, wait, urm, I do that, but that’s not what I’m saying.)

What I am saying is that by taking a camera (in this modern age, most likely your cell phone camera), and walking around with the idea that you’re going to take some amazing pictures, that camera takes you MORE into the moment and forces you to look, (I mean, really LOOK) at the world around you.

Now, I’ve got a few friends who are incredible photographers and if you ever get a chance, check them out (I have links at the bottom of the blog) but I know from talking to them that part of any great trip is keeping an eye open for a great picture.

Lemme give you an example. When The-Prettiest-Girl-in-the-World and I were taking a walk on Mayne Island, we decided to do this. The walk could have been done in ½ an hour, but we took a full hour, maybe more, as we took the time to look at an old stone hut, at the way the light speared through the trees, at the way the sun sparkled off the ocean or the kingfishers took flight.

And take a picture.

Mayne Island tree. BC. Photography.
The lumpiest tree I’ve seen in a long while. Mayne Island.

We found a tree that looked like it was giving birth to other trees. We found a spooky-ass spider hiding in his web (that I almost walked into because I was looking at that stone hut.) We found incredible rock formations sculpted by water. We found picturesque driftwood and spent a while punning it (The-Prettiest-Girl-in-the-World won with her, “Trying to think of a good driftwood pun but I’m stumped,” comment.)

Taking photos slows down time for you. In our rush-rush world, it’s so easy to miss what’s all around us. But by taking the time to look for cool pictures, every little trail you walk on becomes a chance to see something new, or odd or beautiful or terrifying.

So, this is one of the things we’re doing on our relaxing vacation – Taking time to visually smell the roses.

Check out what we’re seeing on Instagram.

Prettiest-Girl-in-the-World (https://www.instagram.com/mecorinne/?hl=en)

Me: https://www.instagram.com/justjoebc/?hl=en

Darren Lee https://www.facebook.com/search/top/?q=dc%20lee%20photos

Vespa (https://www.facebook.com/thefactionhouse/?eid=ARBVmP7dec7wZ__iqPzmX2rylc7jPiWIt1r8PmWqV6dYsMhiqc-AFeZsLUEBNmq3ZU_HNbtALitdXynO&timeline_context_item_type=intro_card_work&timeline_context_item_source=1375481955&fref=tag

Allison (and check out her absolutely incredible blog) https://www.instagram.com/alisonarmstrong6558/?hl=en

Wendy https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10155670171170777&set=t.629780776&type=3&theater

 

 

 

And hey, thanks for reading this!  

If you like what you’re reading, please follow on FB, subscribe to my blog, or check out my coming-soon newsletter. Or, heck, just tell your friends, your baker, your accountant and your barista. 

If you want to support a starving writer, check out the coffee link at the top right-hand corner of the website.

Mayne Island Getaway

parenting meme

parenting meme
Ah, parenting, the greatest thing we’ll do in our lives. Yes?

I think one of the things guys/boyfriends/husbands/stepdads/gigolos don’t realize is how much work and stress goes into being a mom.

Now that’s not to say that we don’t have our own challenges, stresses or times when we need a break, but moms take on a lot more than they let on.

So, every so often, it’s good to get away from the kids, the dog, the house. Good to get away from all those things that stack up in a mom’s mind and weigh her down.

But going away together also gives us a chance to reconnect as a couple. You might think, well, couldn’t we do that at home? And the simple answer is, not always. In fact, not often.

See, as amazing an experience as being a parent can be, kids can also become the focus of your lives. You worry about them, you nag them, advise them, encourage them, praise them, tease them, make them eat their vegetables, make them take their vitamins and do their homework, make them go to bed on time, take them to hockey games, classical music concerts, out to mountain bike courses, watch Rick and Morty with them, read to them, laugh with them, try to raise them right, and after they’ve gone to bed, you talk about them.

It’s what parents do.

So this year, time and money being tight, we chose to go to Mayne Island for our anniversary. Our 2nd.

I’d never been to Mayne Island before, despite it being part of the Gulf Islands which are not that far away. We chose Mayne over the other islands because it seemed calmer, like a place a stoned sloth would go to relax. Because relaxing was what this mini-trip would be about.

As anyone who’s read my blog knows, I love to plan things out. You know, see all that there is to see, do all that there is to do. But on a relaxing vacation, I must put this aside and simply book the hotel and ferries, then sit back and see what happens. Play it by ear. Wing it.

mayne island resort view, gulf islands 2018
Mayne Island Resort 2018

So here was my plan. Get off the ferry. Drive to hotel. Return to ferry in 2 days.

Sad, right, but also relaxing. No stress of having to be up at 8 to get a kayak. No tour bus to board at 10. No movie at 7.  We could eat when we wanted, watch the ocean do oceanie things, maybe go for a walk, read, write, hold hands, breathe in the fresh, salt air, talk, listen to the silence and take pictures of natural things like huge, frightening spiders.

In other words, reconnect and give mom a chance to recharge a bit.

Our hotel, the Mayne Island Resort. Quiet. Quaint.

Mayne Island Resort would be the perfect place for this.

 

 

 

And hey, thanks for reading this!  

If you like what you’re reading, please follow on FB, subscribe to my blog, or check out my coming-soon newsletter. Or, heck, just tell your friends, your baker, your accountant and your barista. 

If you want to support a starving writer, check out the coffee link at the top right-hand corner of the website.

Why An Alberta Adventure? 2018

Alberta travel

This is my first blog in a while, but it’s also the first on my new website. The site is still a work in progress, but I hope you check out everything there, sign up for the super exciting newsletters, and share the post if you like it. Any comments and feedback would be greatly appreciated. 🙂

Alberta travel
Alberta – Did you know Alberta hosts an annual testicle festival?

The Great Alberta Adventure – Day -1

Why? Why Alberta?

Being on-call for work,  the Prettiest-Girl-in-the-World can’t get a ton of time off, but this year, she managed to get nearly a week. Not quite a whole week, but 6 days. Hard to do Europe in 6 days. Hard to even do Disney World in 6 days. Or Hawaii.

So we planned to see a place the boys had never been. Alberta.

Not as many leaning towers there. No spectacular seaside resorts. No cities with gangster tours. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t things to see.

First and foremost, many of our peeps are out that way. The-Prettiest-Girl-in-the-World’s parents live in Oliver and Osoyoos, and her bestest bestie had settled in Stony Plain (near Edmonton), which (coming from Calgary) is like someone choosing to live in a smelly basement rather than a penthouse suite. I mean, who could really like Edmonton? It’s either too hot or too cold. There are far too many mosquitoes, and their hockey team cheats. A lot. And looks funny.

Alberta travel
The road to Alberta lies this way ->

But aside from Edmonton, we’ll see the incredible Rockies, Drumheller with all its dinosaurs, the Calgary Zoo, the various monuments erected to celebrate my years in Calgary, and up north, near the polar bears and Santa’s hut, Edmonton’s famous mall.

Anyway, so, yeah, lots of reasons to head east. And all doable in 6 days.

No planes, no trains, just one automobile. 30 hours driving, all told.

So a plan was made by the Prettiest-Girl-in-the-World and me, a balance between play-it-by-ear and making sure we have a place to stay each night.

I think we arrived at a good balance. No specific times, like at 8:24 we get up, peeing will happen from 8:24-8:27, handwashing from 8:27-8:28, then getting dressed from 8:28… nor nothing too generalized – like we’ll drive until we find something then do something then do something different and then come home.

We tried to lock down the key things, like the Calgary Zoo and since we have to actually book an appointment to see his majesty the panda, we had to be at the panda pavilion at 3:45, but what time we actually arrive at the zoo, well, we’ll play it by ear.

As well, we booked all our hotels so we wouldn’t have to search for a place to stay at the last minute. We could park our bags, take a nap, check out FB, Twitter, Instagram, youtube, and all things internetie, and chillax at the pool while deciding what’s most important.

The Rockies, the prairies, Drumheller, Calgary, Edmonton… there’s a lot to see
But no sooner had we made our generalized plan than The-Youngest took over. The oldest, even right now, still doesn’t quite know what we’re doing even though we’ve told him 10 times, spent an evening showing him our plans on a map and even made a colorful file folder he could consult at any time.

Touring Alberta, Calgary, Drumheller, West Edmonton Mall
The Rockies, the prairies, Drumheller, Calgary, Edmonton… there’s a lot to see

But The-Youngest, well, bless him, he loves to plan. It’s part of the trip for him. It’s the anticipation. It’s ‘see what others have done.’ It’s imagining himself doing all sorts of cool things.

So, come read the next post and see how an 11-year-old mind works.

How much do you plan for your adventures?

1st Anniversary Part 2 of 2

Dark Table in Vancouver

We made it to our first anniversary. The dinner we had planned was something special – Dinner in the dark at the Dark Table in Vancouver.

The plan… to eat completely in the dark. No light from a cell phone. From a watch. From my brilliant wit. Nothing. Complete and utter pit-of-doom darkness.

Being me, I began to imagine the worst. What if I knock over my water glass? What if I cut off my finger while trying to slice my steak? What if I eat the spoon by mistake? What if, when feeling around for The-Prettiest-Girl-in-the-World to make sure she didn’t bolt, that I felt up someone’s grandmother.

So, I decided to practice. I ate a cookie without looking. Then another. And 10 more. Sure I couldn’t see where the crumbs were falling, but it was all good. I felt ready for this place. Plus, you know, I got to eat 10 cookies.

Beautiful Kitsilano

We arrived a bit early and took the most amazing walk around Kits. The weather was perfect, warm in the sunshine, chilly in the shade, the sea glistening with evening light, most of the drug addicts trucking towards their nightly abodes.

A lot of joggers jogged past us, the bastards. Quite a few kids rolled by in strollers (the mom’s jogging, damn them). People sat and watched the sun slowly set. Couples held hands. We passed a guy dressed in a Sgt Peppers uniform selling watermelon of all things.

So pretty typical Kits, really.

Then the fun began. We arrived at the Dark Table. We chose our food in the light, but the appetizer and dessert would remain a surprise. The-Prettiest-Girl-in-the-World was excited to begin but I wondered, what if this was all some mad joke. Yeah, we fed them the hair from my chia pet, something bob ran over this morning and a part that fell off my bike.

I mean, would I know? My palette is tuned to KFC and McDs. (Hmmm, yes, that’s original spicy white meat with a dash of salt and someone’s hair), so I wasn’t sure I could taste the difference between chicken schnitzel or breaded veal

But I didn’t back out. Like the zipline, I had to go on.

Inside, it was dark. Not a big surprise. But it was, like, bottom-of-a-mineshaft dark. Like shut-your-eyes-stand-in-the-windowless-basement-at-night dark.

It’s disorienting. My senses didn’t kick into uber mode. I didn’t hear better. I didn’t smell better (despite a good cologne) and I certainly didn’t feel any better.

We were guided to our seats, the server placing our hands on the back of the chair, then on the table so we could orient ourselves. After we sat, we were guided to the knife and fork, the placemat and told to keep things next to the edges. Knife and fork to the right of the placemat, drink to the upper left.

After we ordered, we tried to talk. It was hard to hear The-Prettiest-Girl-in-the-World as she is soft spoken and I rely not a little bit on lip reading. So she had to shout things like, yes, my butt found the chair. No, I haven’t stuck the fork in my eye. Is that you touching my leg?

When our drinks came, I found it hard for me to find my mouth. You wouldn’t think that would be a thing, but yes, yes it was. I poured a gulp off my chin and down the front of my shirt.

It wasn’t a good start, but luckily no one could see me.

Picture of our food

Then the first dish arrived. It had something I had to spear. A stuffed cockroach or mushroom, I’m not sure. But I couldn’t spear the thing, it kept sliding away. Fearing if I stabbed too hard I would shoot it into The-Prettiest-Girl-in-the-World’s eye, I did what any man in a cave of utter darkness would do. I used my finger. I grabbed the little buttery bastard and stuffed them in my mouth.

OMG good.

The main course tasted equally good AND they had cut up the meat for me – Like what’ll happen when I’m put in a home a few years from now. The food was delicious. I figured out a potato-like thing was a potato, that I ate some cauliflower, some squash, and likely a sweet potato.

The-Prettiest-Girl-in-the-World announced she has stuck a ravioli to her face, but was otherwise having a good time. It could be that she was felt up the waiter a few times but I can’t be sure.

Either way, she had fun. I had fun. We didn’t knock anything over (or didn’t admit it if we did), and we even came close to figuring out what we had for dessert.

Our Dessert

“It tastes green,” I said. “Like lime or something cheesecakie, but with lime.”

“It’s matcha green tea cheesecake!” The-Prettiest-Girl-in-the-World said. “With a graham cracker crust and a light topping of yummy.”

Sounds about right.

To be honest, I ate a lot with my eyes closed. I don’t know why. I guess in some part of my lizard brain I was still in control of my light that way. I did, however, open my eyes to pay the bill, (I opened them really wide) and then, again, outside so I could, you know, find the car.

It was a cool experience.

I would recommend it to anyone.

But first, try to drink in the dark. Trust me, your lips aren’t as reliable as you think they are.