Getting It Right For The-Oldest – Epcot – Vacation Day 5

The-Oldest with the Spaceship Earth growing out of his head.

Getting it right for The-Oldest is NOT easy.

See, Disney World for The-Youngest is a no-brainer. Candy. Rides. Loud sounds. Bright lights. More candy.

But for The-Oldest, it wasn’t the way he wanted to spend eight days. For him, being away from his music was like me being away from my girlfriend at that age.

He was an amazing sport, though, and went on all the terrifying rides with his brother, even enjoying a few, but there was nothing super special about the trip until the Biergarten in Epcot.

No, he didn’t have a beer, again, but it did have an oompah-pah band.

And a buffet where he could choose what to eat. 100% his choice. No potatoes he didn’t like. No gravy that someone poured onto something that shouldn’t have gravy (like peas). No spices cooked into the pasta sauce or meat flavoured with too much flavour.

Instead, he could have a plate full of wieners if he wanted. With a side of peas kept very separate from the wieners. And buns. Lots of buns. With butter.

Plus, while he ate, he could listen to Oktoberfest music (and dance if he wanted to, but that was as likely as me wanting to sing naked in front of my high school French teacher while dancing on a red-hot grill.) The music, I have to say, was fantastic, but stopped us from talking (which was also a HUGE plus for The-Oldest.)

Now THIS was The-Oldest’s idea of fun.

There is a video here.

Literally dripping wet, we all had a great time. I ate so much food, I think I gained 40lbs before I left the restaurant. Think Mr. Creosote from Monty Python’s Meaning of Life. But then, I LOVE German food. Sauces. Sauerbraten.  Spätzle. Strudel. Red cabbage. I think in a former life, I was German. Or at least starving.

Nothing like good fireworks

With darkness falling and the rain letting up, we decided to stay for the fireworks and what a great decision that was. The-Oldest had the best reason why this is the BEST fireworks in Disney World (and that will be a part of his Top 10 list coming soon), but from my perspective, nothing beats a good fireworks show.

I don’t know why. I’m like a little kid seeing a puppy for the first time. If there is a heaven, mine will be filled with fireworks. And German food.

For some reason, it didn’t rain at all as we watched the sky explode around us, as the crowd oooh’d and aaah’d, as the air filled with the smell of explosives.

A great picture of a great day!

Everything had simply come together for this evening to make his adventure amazing.

Despite the rain, we got to ride on the Test Track.

Because of the rain, we went inside to a sitdown restaurant where The-Oldest had his best experience.

With no rain, we got to enjoy an incredible fireworks show.

I couldn’t wait to see what the next day would bring, not knowing at the time that I would get to experience one of my real-life nightmares.

Unexpected Fun – Epcot – Disney World

epcot in disney world, orlando florida, the spaceship earth
Epcot in Disney World. Unexpected fun awaited

If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a million times – the best thing about traveling is that you can never completely predict what will happen. This time, at Epcot, we had some unexpected fun.

So, our plan, with rain already spitting down on us, was to get to our Fastpass ride, the popular Test Track, (weather permitting) grab some food, and see the fireworks (weather permitting).

Unlike the other parks, Epcot was not filled with Dumbo rides or Splashy rollercoasters. It’s a showcase for pavilions from around the world. Back in Joe 1.0 life, I loved this park more than the others since it was like visiting Norway, or China or Mexico in a bottle. But The Boyz, well, I could drag them there, but it would be like giving a cat its bath.

So it would be rides, food, and fireworks. Weather permitting.

But that rain bit us in the ass right away. When we checked our Disney App, we found that the Test Track was canceled.

Doh.

However, when a Fastpass ride is canceled, Disney gives you a free Fastpass to any other ride in that park. Any ride. So we changed our plans and decided to see Soaring.

But upon entering the park, the boys had an odd reaction to the big dome, the Spaceship Earth. Like fangirls crushing on Beiber, they gaped at it in wonder. They wanted to run around it, take pictures of it, and go inside it (and do the ride.) The ride itself was a journey through time. Not a rollercoaster. Not a thing that flipped you around until you wanted to throw up. Not even a ride that got you wet.

It was information. Like a museum.

Like the little kitten who comes close to you for the first time, I didn’t want to scare them off with all sorts of Joe-information (of which I have a ton!), so we just got on the ride. It was a little worn, a little outdated, but The-Boyz loved it. Yes, they loved learning something.

What the f…?

Then, just as we got out, the rain stopped and the Test Track was back on. We ran to the ride (or rather, The-Boyz ran, and I waddled like a very pregnant woman in need of some pickles and ice cream.) We got inside, hoping the weather would hold.

And let me tell you, there is a reason this ride is so popular. Like Avatar: Flight of Passage, it has so much to do while you wait in line. In fact, it’s THE BEST ride for the line-up since you actually design your own car!

The-Boyz made something out of Sci-Fi, while The-Prettiest-Girl-in-the-World, (a car-girl at heart), put in quality-time making it look aesthetic, making it as ‘green’ as possible, and ensuring that it would run like a bat out of hell. Pictures on Instagram here.

This monstrosity designed by The-Boyz for the Test Track ride in Epcot won? Really? It looks like something out of Tron

Such fun! Unexpected fun.

The ride itself was blazingly fast, but we all took our stats from the car and on the test track, got to see who had actually designed a better car. The-Boyz won twice, we won three times, which made The-Prettiest-Girl-in-the-World as happy as a lion getting to eat a tourist.

The car that won for the fastest was The-Boyz car, so they were super braggy about how well they’d done, but jeeeez, look at the thing. That race was rigged!

As soon as we got off, the rains came, hard and heavy, like a movie rain so wet that it soaked through our raingear.

Sopping wet, we chose to eat in Germany. On the spur of the moment, we decided upon the restaurant, the Biergarten. I mean, why not? German beer. A buffet with wieners. And a band!

Little did we know it would become The-Oldest’s most unexpected fun.

Blizzard Beach – Disney World – Vacation Day 5

Disney Castle, Orlando Florida
Everyone is smiling and shiny at Disney World’s Blizzard Beach.

What do you do when you’ve set a time to meet and no one has watches? And worse, when you’ve solved that problem by telling everyone to keep an eye on a fake clock at Disney World’s Blizzard Beach?

Now, if it was “Do homework until 4, then you can play the piano,” or “school ends at 3,” you know The-Boyz would have kept track of time like an atomic clock.

But barreling down exciting waterslides, splashing in wavey pools, or even slowly floating down a lazy river? No hope they’d see the sunset, nevermind realize in any way time had passed.

The-Prettiest-Girl-in-the-World and I realized our error almost the moment The-Boyz got out of our sight. I waddled after them like a duck with ten meth pills up his butt, but I failed to catch them. Like my dreams, they had vanished.

We looked at our phones. 11:00. We HAD to leave by 3:30 to get home, change, then head off to Epcot for our Fastpast (Test Track) at 5pm.  That’s 4 1/2 hours at the waterpark. Sooner or later, we thought, The-Boyz would HAVE to get hungry. Right?

Right?

Since we didn’t want to wander the whole park yelling, “Squishy Cheeks! Smoochie Face! Where are you?” we decided to do the only adult thing we could do. We got into an inner tube and rode the lazy river, praying it would all work out.

This was supposed to be a relaxing day at Blizzard Beach

After two laps, I went to write to stake out the restaurant area. I pried my laptop out of my locker like a doctor extracting a baby, minus, you know, the mess and screaming, then set up at a table in the restaurant, in the shade, but close enough to keep an eye on everyone walking by. The-Prettiest-Girl-in-the-World continued to float, though I suspect she secretly went to have 40 drinks and wonder why coming to Disney World was a good thing.

At around 1:30, The-Boyz showed up, as the clouds overhead loomed with stormish-intensity. See, it wasn’t the hunger that drove them back to us, but the idea they might be killed by lightning.

Works for me.

As we all ate, The-Boyz regaled us with stories of terrifying drops, of great waves swallowing them up in the wave pool, and how few bees the rides had (a problem, it seems, that plagued our local waterpark).

They had a great time.

I aged another 20 years waiting for them, imagining having to run through the park at 3 with the police, a search dog and a megaphone.

But after a few more rides, we all made it back to our resort, Pop Century, as the clouds continued to gather overhead.

The-Prettiest-Girl-in-the-World rocking her raingear

See, in Florida, at least in this part of Florida, there’s something the tourist websites do not tell you. At this time of year, you sometimes get all the possible weather conditions in one day. Sunny, clouds roll in, they roll out, hot sun, humid, then suddenly black clouds and tropical rain, then sun, again, then thunder and lightning, then sun, then darkness.

As we took our bus off to Epcot, though, rain began to fall, which for most parks would not be enough to stop the rides, but at Epcot, the Test Track ride was mostly outdoors and if the track was too wet, the ride would be canceled.

But by the end of the night, it wouldn’t be the ride we remembered but something else entirely, something completely unexpected.

50’s Prime Time Diner Disaster – Hollywood Studios – Vacation Day 4

Disney World Vacations 2019 theme parks Hollywood Studios 50's Primetime Diner
And the rains came to Hollywood Studios, Disney World

We still had a lot to see and do at Hollywood Studios (Slinky dog ride, watch the Star Wars show and maybe sneak into the 50’s Prime Time Diner, then see the Fantasorgasmic Show.)

None of us napped back at our Disney World resort, but we did get off our feet for a few hours, me writing, the boyz watching YouTubes, and The-Prettiest-Girl-in-the-World doing laundry.

The whole laundry thing became absolutely necessary due to us going through at least 2 sets of clothes a day. I mean, who wants to put on a sweaty, suntan-lotionie shirt, again? Or slip into a used pair of underwear after a shower?

With our clothes restocked, our bodies mostly rested, we bussed our way back to Hollywood Studios, again. About 5. We’d planned to eat at the resort, but the bus was right there! Right there!

So we lept on it.

For once, we’d be early. We’d get a chance to see the Star Wars show, grab some food at Hollywood Studios, hit up our fast pass ride, The Slinky Dog, and see the evening show.

It was a good plan.

But we missed the 5:30 Star Wars show by 15min. 15 min. Again.

So we decided to ask if my #1 Disney-World-Bucket-list restaurant could squeeze us in. The 50’s Prime Time Diner – A place where they made sure you had good table manners and called you out for not eating your veggies.

To my surprise, they had room!

I was super excited.

50’s Prime Time Diner. We watch old TV on an old TV

We wandered around in living rooms with old TVs, old kitchens, and stood near a 50’s bar serving drinks with flashing ice cubes. Each room had all sorts of 50’s memorabilia that I basically remembered from my childhood (though that was in the 60s, lots of our furniture and stuff was definitely from the 50s.)

We were called to our table by a woman with a mom-voice, you know the type – she could yell dinner and you heard her 4 blocks away in an underground bunker with music playing. She sat us down, gave us menus and told the kids to behave.

The table had a TV, a cool old toaster and was, of course, all chromie. Our waiter was called Uncle Chris. He reminded us not to put our elbows on the table. I had a very hard time with this as my elbows are no longer well-trained.

I ordered mom’s pot roast. I mean, it was mom’s! The Prettiest-Girl-in-the-World ordered ribs, The-Youngest got a Caesar salad, and The-Oldest went with Cousin Megan’s Traditional Meatloaf.

I was so excited. So nostalgic. This was the height of white male dominance, a time when a house cost $8,400 and your salary was $3,200. A new corvette cost $1,500. A razor 25cents. Even though I hadn’t lived through the time, so much of what was on display was a part of my childhood.

We watched clips of I Love Lucy, of Reagan introducing Walt Disney, of the original Mouseketeers, and of Car 54 Where Are You? Just to name a few.

But then things started to go pear-shaped, in a way I hadn’t anticipated. Uncle Chris came by often to give the boys a hard time. “Don’t talk with your mouth full.” “Sit up straight.” “No phones at the table.” That kind of thing. All in good fun. Really.

He called The-Prettiest-Girl-in-the-World ‘Peggy Sue’, The-Youngest, “Spanky”, and The-Oldest, “Trouble.” All in fun.

The-Youngest, however, didn’t really like Uncle Chris much. The guy may have pushed the whole 50’s thing too far, and The-Youngest no longer had fun. In fact, the opposite of fun.

It took a while to calm The-Youngest down, but eventually, he did, and he made sure to clean his plate (and keep his elbows off the table). The-Oldest however, did not eat his beans, so when Uncle Chris came around, he took the plate and shouted for the whole restaurant, “Do we waste food?” “NO!” they all shouted back. The-Oldest laughed along with it all. He even laughed when Uncle Chris brought back the beans covered in whipped cream “for dessert”.

The-Youngest didn’t have as much fun at the 50’s Prime Time Diner as I did. I got to scowl like a dad in a 50’s TV show.

He didn’t eat them, though.

For the rest of the entire meal, The-Youngest lived in fear of Uncle Chris coming by and yelling at him. He realized how easy-going we are in this modern age and he vowed never to go in time to the 50s. Ever. I don’t know if Uncle Chris crossed a line, but it made the experience less fun for sure.

Full, the dinner almost spoiled by a little too much ribbing, we looked outside.

That weather forecast of showers, lightning, and thunder was coming true.

Doh!

We had one ride to do, one show to see, and the Fantasmic Light Show.

Embrace Your Inner Child – Hollywood Studios – Vacation Day 4

The best way to do Disney World is to abandon all pretense of being an adult.

No question about it, the best way to do Disney World is to embrace your inner child. A lot easier if you’re, you know, a child, but we all did it.

It took us until after the Rocking Rollercoaster to realize what kind of day we were going to have at Disney World. It was going to be a nerdy, goofy, silly day.

And that was awesome!

It really started with The-Prettiest-Girl-in-the-World LOVING the Muppet Show. It’s not an adult thing to be so excited by a show like that, but tapping into your inner kid, it’s totally fun. Seriously.

Then there was our quest to find a Kermit stuffy with a hole in his bum (where you stick your hand.)

Kinda goofy, sure, but it’s fun to embrace your inner child.

But when the boyz came out of the Rocking Rollercoaster looking like they’d seen war or grandpa’s naked butt, we decided to do something so goofy and silly, it would cement the day as a legendary goober day.

We had our faces photoshopped as Star Wars characters.

The-Youngest was the first to go forward and we laughed and laughed as his face replaced the emperor’s or Darth Vadar or Luke Skywalker. He even wanted to be Princess Leia, but The-Prettiest-Girl-in-the-World claimed that option.

Check us out as Star Wars characters!!! The-Prettiest-Girl-in-the-World at Padme, The-Youngest as a young, Anakin Skywalker, me as Obi Wan, and The-Oldest as Mace Windu. This is how you embrace your inner child!

See, at this moment, we really began to embrace the spirit of Disney World. Put aside being an adult and be a silly kid.

When it came time for The-Oldest, they photoshopped his face onto Mace Windu, changing his normally white skin to black. I laughed as he made evil faces for the evil characters, and weird, I-look-drunk faces for the good guys.

Then The-Prettiest-Girl-in-the-World went up and I have to say, rocked the whole Padme /Leia look. Like totally rocked it. I think I got a little excited in a very adult way.

And then I went up, and tried to look my most Jedi-ish. I ended up looking constipated but whatever. The family, watching me, laughed until they doubled over.

The picture we chose is here. See what I mean by a cool picture??? There’s a hot Padme, an amazing Mace Windu, a serious looking Obi and a slightly insane looking Anakin.

Totally nerdy fun! Best family photo EVER!

Embrace your inner child, right?

Giggling, we left, The-Youngest giving us a second by second recounting of the Rockin’ Rollercoaster. We tried to eat at the SciFi Restaurant, but by now, we were about 45 minutes behind schedule so we arrived at the peak lunch period. We settled for eating at the ABC commissary. Not good food, but filling.

Having embraced the day of silliness, we searched the app for a ride to do. Being out of sync with the day, we missed the Star Wars show, but I did manage to see Rey walk by and I’m pretty sure she smiled at me. Yes, just at me. Similarly, The-Youngest was pretty sure Darth Vadar pointed at him and called him to the Dark Side. Little did Vadar know, but The-Youngest had gone there long ago.

With lineups at the 120 min mark, the heat oppressive and no fast passes until 7:45, we returned to the bus. I offered to take The-Youngest to a Disney World waterpark, but after thinking about it for most of the morning, he declined. Even at 12, he knew he needed some rest.

In hindsight, that should have been a sign of things to come.

Disney World – Hollywood Studios – Day 4

hollywood studios disney world orlando florida theme parks
Disney World’s Hollywood Studios.

Probably more than most places, Disney World can have some unpredictable moments. Day 4 would turn out to be filled with moments that we couldn’t have planned

I mean, first of all, who could have planned a bus would go to the wrong theme park? We missed the rope drop which meant that our plan to do the Twilight Tower of Terror failed. See, the keeners (and those with good bus drivers) were at the gate at 9 am, racing to the ride and line up. By 9:15, a ride can go from a 0 min wait to a 120 min wait.

I’m not sure we could have made the Tower of Terror in time anyway, me being less likely to, you know, actually sprint to the ride, but certainly by 9:15, we were too late.

No worries, though, The-Youngest was kind of iffy on the whole falling elevator ride, so we marched to Star Tours where we had a 9:15 Fastpass.

Sadly, I marched us completely in the wrong direction.

Sigh.

It was one of those days.

When we arrived at Star Tours, we were 30 min behind schedule, but the way Fastpasses work meant we could arrive from 9:10 to 10:10, and still bypass the lines, so it wasn’t critical.

Hollywood Studios’ Star Tours remains one of my favourites and the only ride The-Prettiest-Girl-in-the-World had wanted booked. It’s really an earlier version of Avatar: Flight of Passage, just with less high-tech graphics and sphincter clenching moments.

But it didn’t disappoint. It’s a story ride where even waiting in line is fun or at least as fun as waiting in line can be. I have a neat video link here.

We dodged Imperial fighters, zipped through asteroid fields, and made it past Darth Vader without him killing us. Then, after spending a little too much time in the shop designing my very own lightsaber (and looking longingly at Star Wars T-shirts, we checked our Disney app to see what was available.

Right beside us, the Muppet Show had no line-up.

Uncharacteristically, The-Prettiest-Girl-in-the-World became super excited about seeing the show, so off we went. As we sat down, I think she had her ‘being-a-kid’ moment, as she shifted expectantly in her seat. She was excited to be in the Muppet theater, to glimpse the old men in the balcony, and watch Kermit the frog try to keep order in the face of muppet chaos.

The 3D show was amazing, even though it was not a new show. Sure the seats are a little worn, but the show remains strong. We laughed, got misted with water, had bubbles fall on our heads and to The-Oldest’s horror, watched as the musical finale failed in a comically way that only the Muppets can fail.

Me, I had the horrible realization that I’ve become the old men in the balcony! Gosh!

By the time we left, it was time to race to our next Fastpass ride, the Rocking Rollercoaster. But first, we had tried to find a real Kermit in one of the shops, one with a hole in his bum where you could stick a hand. For some reason I never asked about, it was the dream of The-Oldest to have such a Kermit.

However, we failed to find one with a hand hole. Maybe it was considered too rude to stick your hand up his bum.

By the time we reached The Rocking Rollercoaster, we were already past the Fastpass start time. Luckily The-Youngest led us there because if I had led us, we may have ended up in Wisconsin or something.

Neither The-Prettiest-Girl-in-the-World or I had any desire to do this ride so we let the boyz get into line, and we scoped out the gift shop. By the time the boyz came out, their faces white, walking on unstable legs, looking like they’d either come close to death or had a lot of fun, we decided to fully embrace the Disney experience: We decided to do something super goofy.

Hollywood Studios – Disney World – Vacation Day 4 Start

hollywood studios disney world orlando florida theme parks
hollywood studios disney world orlando florida theme parks
Disney World’s Hollywood Studios.

Yesterday at Disney World had been a huge success, so the plan was to repeat the strategy – Get out to Hollywood Studios for rope drop, race back to the resort when it got all hot and icky, then return to the park for more awesomeness.

I won’t lie. I was super excited to see Hollywood Studios. I mean, I’m a total movie buff/nerd and seeing Star Wars displays, Toy Story characters, Indie Jones…oh-boy-oh-boy-oh-boy!

Today’s FastpassesStar Tours at 9:10. The Rocking Rollercoaster at 10:30, then the surprisingly, super popular Slinky Dog Dash Rollercoaster at 7:45. Other attractions: Tower of Terror, Muppets 3D, Indiana Jones live show, the Barnstormer and whatever else we could get on in less than 30 min. A cool list is here.

If you recall, we had booked our Fastpass rides 60 days in advance, (and those times totally fit into our newly discovered plan.)

But if I had to do it all over again, or for anyone looking for advice, I’d book the Fastpasses for 11:00-1:00, that way we can hit up rides at rope drop when smarter people are sleeping, the weather isn’t as hot so you can stand in line and not feel like a slowly roasting chicken, and you can still get the BEST rides at a busy time.

However, the day began well enough even though we were about 15 min behind yesterday. Not a big deal, but being 15 min behind would haunt us for the entire day, like being out of step to the music (something I do so well.)

The boys ate healthy food for breakfast, which should have been sign of how weird the day would get, then we marched towards the buses.

The weather, again, was perfect, though the forecast called for, yes again, thundershowers. Seems like that was just a default setting for the weathermen, like rain is for Vancouver. They all go on vacation and simply post ‘chance of lightning and thundershowers.’

We got on the bus quickly, a good sign.

We got a seat. This was a great sign.

I didn’t have to get up my seat to a mom with a little baby, an old woman with a wonky eye or a little girl who with tearful eyes just wanted to sit by her mom. A great sign.

This was a day where nothing would go wrong. Everything was going sooo well…

Then the bus went to the wrong park.

It’s kinda what happens when too much starts going your way.

At first, (in my partially caffeinated state), shoot, we’d gotten on the wrong bus.

disney world hollywood studios buses transportation epcot florida orlando
The buses pick up passengers to take them to the theme parks, but not always, it seems, the RIGHT theme park.

But The-Youngest (and by FAR the smartest in the morning), said, no we were in the right line. Then the bus driver came on the intercom. She apologized. She had gone to the wrong park. Epcot. She would get us back to Hollywood as soon as possible.

That left us 15 min behind schedule to hit the park at rope drop.

It was how the whole day would play out.

Staying Together in Disney World

legoland, california
legoland, california
Holding The-Youngest in place at Legoland, 2014 as he pulls a face for the camera.
Gosh, they were young. As was I.

Staying together in Disney World is hard, and to be frank, it’s not always the kid’s fault.

This is something I found in Legoland. With 3 other people, it is not three times harder, but exponentially 3 times harder. Maybe 300 times harder.

So let’s look at the challenges we face.

First. Me:

If I can cite a Disney movie, I’m very much like Dug the Dog from Up who suddenly stops when he sees a squirrel. Mostly it’s about seeing a great picture opportunity, but sometimes, I just kinda wander off like a lost puppy.

It’s because of my Joe 1.0 life. I was used to traveling with only one other person. Easy to stay together. Easy to shout, “oooh, I want to get a picture of the Disney Castle with the marching band in front and an old lamppost on the right and the sun behind me,” then head off and take that picture.

What I really need to do is to keep an eye on everyone else, but instead, it becomes a game – Who’s the last to see Joe has to figure out where he wandered off to! But on the plus side, I don’t move that fast.

Second challenge:

The-Youngest wants to race to the next thing to do, or worse, like me, he’ll see a squirrel and head towards it without warning. Or warning that we can understand.

He’s more Dug the dog than me simply by the speed which he runs off. One second he’s by your side, the next he’s walking along the top of a 400’ wall. With barbed wire. In the rain.

Third challenge:

The-Oldest seems to want to lag behind, mostly because he’s a teenager and vaguely embarrassed to be seen with us.

I mean, who can blame him. I have sunscreen slathered on so thick that I look like I’ve been coated in lard in preparation for deep frying. Worse, I wear super comfortable shorts that make me look like a Bavarian Slapdancer.

Last challenge:

The-Prettiest-Girl-in-the-World, well, she had no real faults here, as she simply tries to keep everyone close, worried they’d be stolen by stormtroopers in Hollywood Studios or eaten by bears at Whistler.

So, how did we go about staying together in Disney World with those 3 challenges?

Yelling helps, but it has to be a good, loud shout. Not, “joe, ah could you please come back here,” But “JOE!!!” Like you would shout at a dog before it pees on the neighbour’s leg.  

See, shouting breaks the subject’s focus. Instead of thinking about the next ride or where best someone can take an amazing picture of Ironman hugging a 2-year-old, the person stops to look back at whoever is shouting at them.

It’s a good tactic.

A mom-voice helps here, the kind of voice you can hear from 12 blocks away while you’re riding shopping carts a down steep hill with your brother. The-Prettiest-Girl-in-the-World, despite her size and otherwise gentle demeanour, can summon that voice, a voice like someone dispelling a demon.

Me? I’ve worked on my dad-voice, trying to avoid sounding like the teacher in Ferris Bueler, “Bueler… Beuler,” and more like Gerald Butler’s King Leonidas in 300 (THIS IS SPARTA!) Sadly, I think I end up sounding like Gilbert Gottfried, but whatever, it gets the job done.

Next – Physical restraint works.

The-Prettiest-Girl-in-the-World had two moves.

One, she calls, ‘Holding Hands,’ but let’s be honest, it’s restraint, (restraint with love, maybe, but with her kung-fu grip, none of us are escaping.)

At some point, this may no longer work on The-Youngest when he’s, like, 30 and has been working out for 10 years, he may too strong for his mom. But until then, it works, even on The-Oldest who would rather be seen pant-less than holding hands with his mom.

The second move is ‘The Grab’. Sometimes you have to actually grab someone to stop them from racing into a crowd to be swept away by the sweaty river of humanity. Basically, you grab wherever you can grab, the shirt, the arm, the backpack…

I am good at this one, even at my old age.

The last, but perhaps least effective, is ‘Talking About Staying Together.” A lot.

You’d think this would work with me and The-Oldest, but being Dug the Dog means words are useless on me sometimes, and The-Oldest lives inside his head so much that he could wander off a cliff and not even realize he’s hurtling to his death until he hears a loud ‘splat’ sound.

disney world magic kingdom main street
Can you spot The-Youngest? In crowds, it so easy to get separated. Bright colors, helmets with flashing lights and a 10′ flag sticking out of a backpack helps, but it was a challenge to stay together at Disney World

However, ‘Talking About Staying Together’ is like an ice sculpture. For a short time, it’s cool, but then melts and you have to clean up the mess.

So, are we successful at staying together?

Like any family, not always, but we haven’t lost anyone, yet.

Yet.

River of Lights – Animal Kingdom – Disney World Vacation Day 3

Disney World Vacations 2019 theme parks Animal Kingdom the river of lights show is about to start

Tonight, the River of Lights.

tree of life in animal kingdom disney world orlando florida
The Tree of Life in Disney World’s Animal Kingdom. We had THE BEST day at this park.

I have to say, Disney World does so many things right.

First, they kept the weather amazing. I don’t know what Mickey Magic they cast, or what Avatar weather machine they activated, but the evening at Animal Kingdom was perfect. Pink skies. Long, fading clouds. A little hot, but manageable.

Second, they do the details sooooo right. There’s a whole rant about that later, but they create little worlds better than anyone, even most movie makers, though, yah, I guess, technically, they are movie makers as well.

Thirdly, they do shows well, perhaps better than anything in Vegas. Oh, sure Disney World has far less nudity than Vegas, and they’ve geared up their shows for younger audiences, or people who are secret 8-year-olds like me, but they are always entertaining and, often, spectacular.

River of Lights promised to be no exception.

But first we HAD to see the Kilimanjaro Safari in the evening. When talking to someone in the candy shop, he said it was a completely different experience at night. He also offered me a lot of candy to get into his van, so I’m a little suspicious of him, but his safari info mirrored what I’d see on YouTube.

So off we went. At this time of night, about 7:00, there were no line-ups. No line-ups! We got right on.

Oh, how I love no line-ups.

Disney World Vacations 2019 theme parks Animal Kingdom giraffes in Kilimanjaro safari
Kilimanjaro Safari – as the light faded, many of the animals came out to say hi. Even The-Oldest found the tour ‘ok’ which is teen-speak for amazing!

And the van-guy was right. A lot more animals had come out to wander around or stare menacingly at us.

See the Instagram pics here.

I saw giraffes glide across the plains, rhinos lumber around like they’d had a hard day standing in line-ups at Disney World, and the hyenas stalk around in a dangerous-looking pack.

But the highlight was the lions.

They roared at us!

Vid here.

Even the tour guide was excited.

The lions roared like majestic thunder, which was thrilling but also oddly unsettling (mostly because I think they were saying, back in my day, we’d eat your face off.) One moron roared back, but even that didn’t spoil that moment.

I’d heard real lions roar!

Super stoked, we finished the ride & soon reached the seats for the River of Lights show.

Disney World Vacations 2019 theme parks Animal Kingdom the river of lights show is about to start
Mount Everest overlooks Animal Kingdom’s River of Lights – a fantastic show and a perfect end to our day.

Ok, it was crowded and we had to shuffle next to our sweaty neighbours (or to quote Rorschach from Watchman, I’m not locked in here with you, you’re locked in here with ME!)

Ok, we didn’t have the best view.

Ok, despite the sun going down, it was so hot that I began to sweat out of my eyeballs.

But none of that mattered when the show started.

Giant lotuses floated across the lake and spouted all sorts of colored water. Animated creatures danced on the water spray. Big turtles and other animals crawled across the water changing color, and all the while music blared, happy and all Lion-Kingee.

What made it even better were two girls who sat behind us. They knew every character who appeared in the water spray, would sing along with the songs with unrestrained glee, and even threated to cry at least twice because of how the show moved them.

I have to confess, when I’m watching a show like this or riding something like Avatar, the Flight of Passage, all cynicism melts from me in a sweaty puddle at my feet. All sarcasm dissipates like mist. I become a goofy kid, again, giddy and bouncy and delighted.

If only I could be that way all the time.

Either way, the boys had fun, though not as much fun as me, and The-Prettiest-Girl-in-the-World, being a girl, loved the message of love, the light displays, and music.

Afterward, we made our way with the crowd to stand in line for our bus. Even that line didn’t matter. We were on a Disney World high. Even being stuffed into the first available bus like potatoes about to be mashed, we were on a Disney World high.

It had been a great day.

And tomorrow, we were sure, would be even better!

The video of the River of Lights, below, is far, far better than my own, but being there, in person, is far, far more magical.

Korean BBQ Ribs at Yak and Yeti – Animal Kingdom – Vacation Day 3

Disney World Vacations 2019 theme parks Animal Kingdom yak and yeti

We’d only eaten at quick-serve places in Disney World due to our epic Disney Deal, but we decided to risk a few $$$ and try Korean BBQ ribs at the Yak and Yeti restaurant. (Asian food).

It was one of the best-recommended restaurants in Animal Kingdom (if not the whole of Disney World), but based on our experience at the check-in counter, our expectations had been lowered to the point that if we got plates of ribs half-eaten by yaks, we wouldn’t have been surprised.

The Yak and Yeti restaurant as we wait for our meal of Korean BBQ ribs (and a Kobe beef burger)! Best day in Disney World!
The Yak and Yeti restaurant as we wait for our meal of Korean BBQ ribs (and a Kobe beef burger)! Best day in Disney World!

However, the moment we sat down, we met our waiter and he began to change our minds!

A southerner from Georgia, he had that ‘southern charm’ thing in spades. He made us laugh right off the bat, and we found out he had plans to go to Whistler in February for some skiing. That perked The-Youngest up, who immediately had to tell our waiter about every single run, and how good they were and how well he’d done on them.

Our waiter listened well past when he could have made an excuse (like the Yeti in the kitchen was on fire or something) and left.

Simply put, our waiter was fantastic. He’s one of those guys you’d invite over for a BBQ and beer.

After taking our picture about 100 times, he raced off to get our drinks. The-Prettiest-Girl-in-the-World didn’t order anything alcoholic, (super surprising considering the day she’d had), but instead chose a refreshing non-alocholic drink with all sorts of leaves and happy juice. For The-Oldest, our waiter brought 3 children’s cups of milk so that he could have enough and get free refills. For me, a Kirin beer (no free refills). For The-Youngest, just water.

Disney World Vacations 2019 theme parks Animal Kingdom yak and yeti
Bring on the BBQ ribs and beer!

Then we ordered our food, the food we’d come across a whole park to eat – Korean BBQ ribs.

But The-Oldest decided to try a Kobe beef burger since he wasn’t a big fan of spices or sauces or sauces with spices. He’d never had Kobe beef before so he wasn’t sure this was the best choice, but we told him to give it a try, it may be the best beef on the planet. Or in the universe for that matter since they don’t have cows on Alpha Centauri 11.

The-Oldest asked how I liked the beer. Kirin’s a great beer, I replied. Want a sip?

The-Prettiest-Girl-in-the-world sat bolt up and shot me a look.

Here the drinking age is like 80, I think, while the gun age is 4, so if I’d have given The-Oldest a gun, I’d have been fine, but a drink? I may have risked serious jail time. But whatever, we were on vacation and it was just a sip.

Sheepishly, I added, “If it’s, ah, you know, ok with your mom.”

She said it was ok.

We looked around like we were about to rob a bank or declare ourselves Trump supporters, then, with no one looking, The-Oldest took a sip.

He didn’t like it much. I mean, who really does the first few times, but he told his mom he thought he’d take up full-time drinking now, said that’s what most musicians did at some point, said it might help his creativity.

The-Prettiest-Girl-in-the-World gave me her I’m-going-to-shank-you look but I pretended not to see her.

When the Korean BBQ ribs arrived, the three of us dove in like starved hyenas, even making similar sounds. The ribs tasted amazing.

Simply.

Amazing.

Spicy, tangy, they had not too much sauce, and not too little. Plus the meat fell off the bone so easily that I think if I had sneezed, I would have sneezed the meat onto the lap of the person at the next table (and you could well imagine how embarrassing eating it off his lap would have been.)

The-Oldest, when asked about his burger said it was ok. High praise for a teenager, but still, a Kobe beef burger deserves something more like “OMG, so amazing I’m going to leave home and live at the Yak and Yeti,” or “That’s so tasty, nothing else will ever be as good so I’m going to become a Tibetan Monk.”

Sigh.

But that dinner was one of the best we’d had in months and months, maybe the best this year. Even The-Youngest agreed.

We left with each one of us satisfied and in great moods.

Despite that ‘cast member’ fail, we were having the best day! The Boyz rode Expedition Everest and took a wet ride on Kali River. I got to eat Dole Whip and touch the Buddhist bells for good luck, while all of us got to see lions and rhinos and elephants.

Disney World Vacations 2019 theme parks Animal Kingdom yak and yeti
The Korean BBQ ribs. Soooooo good!

Then, before the adventure could become a grind, we went home to rest, returning to go on the Avatar: Flight of Passage ride, find a table at the Yak and Yeti, joke around with our utterly charming waiter, and then ate an amazing Koren BBQ ribs!!!  

What a great day!

But that wasn’t the end. The Kilimanjaro Safari and River of Lights show would help cement this as a truly awesome day.

Disney World Crew Member Fail – Animal Kingdom – Vacation Day 3

Disney World Vacations 2019 theme parks Animal Kingdom yak and Yeti restaurant
Disney World Vacations 2019 theme parks Animal Kingdom yak and Yeti restaurant
The guide books said a reservation was a MUST, but a polite request and a lovely smile from The-Prettiest-Girl-in-the-World got us into the Yak and Yeti Restaurant in Disney World’s Animal Kingdom.

So far, every interaction with a Disney World Cast Member had been awesome.

That was about to change.

Now, when in Disney world, every guide book, every YouTube video and every blog says make a reservation for popular restaurants.

However, we simply couldn’t pin down our dining times, so we were unable to make one.

Being Canadian, though, we thought, why not go and ask politely and smile a lot? Or more specifically, The-Prettiest-Girl-in-the-World thought this (she’s very good at smiling and being polite.)

So, still buzzing from the Avatar high, The-Youngest and I chattering like nerdy gerbils, we marched into Yak and Yeti Restaurant and asked. Any chance you have space for 4 before the next ice age?

Turned out the answer was, sure, it’s about a 20 min wait.

20 min! That’s all?!?!?!?!?!!!

Done deal!

We settled in for the wait, excited to eat at one of the best restaurants in Disney World, famous for its Korean BBQ ribs. Yum.

But while waiting, we had our first and only cast member fail.

Now, Disney prides itself on its customer service. The cleaning staff say hi when you walk by. With a smile. The cast members hang up a phone with ‘have a magical day.’ The staff in the stores smile and say good morning even when I’m scowling and haven’t had coffee yet, so a bad experience is… shocking!

Here’s what happened…

2 young women and a young man worked the front check-in counter. Back in Canada, we’d call them hosts or hostesses, you know, the people who decide where you go and when.

Well, while we waited for our table, a friend of theirs showed up. A super chatty, outgoing friend. Now, rather than say hi, maybe talk for 30 seconds then get back to work, the three cast members suddenly started to act like there were in a staff room far away from customers.

Yikes. The three workers and their ‘friend’ (likely an off-work co-worker) giggled and talked about the customers they’d served, their co-workers and pretty much anything that came into their vacant heads. It was like they lost track of the people in the room. Like anything they said couldn’t be heard.

Disney World Vacations 2019 theme parks Animal Kingdom goofing off meme
Yeah, you tell them kid!

It was astoundingly rude.

But to make matters worse, when The-Prettiest-Girl-in-the-World found a cell phone that someone had left, she brought it to them. They vaguely thanked her and went back to discussing the stupid things they’d seen customers do today.

However, when a frantic woman ran in looking for a phone, with all her Disney pictures on it, the ones with her grandson, the ones that she hadn’t yet downloaded, the three behind the counter looked at each other and shrugged. Nope, no one’s turned in a phone. Nope.

The-Prettiest-Girl-in-the-World got that look on her face that usually sends us boys running because one of us has left the water running and overflowed the tub or have forgotten to turn off a burner and fried a frying pan. It’s an evil-eye glare that prisoners give before they shank someone.

The-Prettiest-Girl-in-the-World strode up to the desk and politely reminded them that she had JUST turned in a phone not 10 minutes ago. “Oh, THAT phone!” one of them said and fished it out from somewhere.

The cell-phone-lady thanked The-Prettiest-Girl-in-the-World who continued to glare at the idiots like she WAS going to shank them.

They were, in a word, useless.

But The-Prettiest-Girl-in-the-World helping that lady get her phone is one of the reasons why she is so awesome. I have a list coming, because it doesn’t stop here, but this is a great example. She saw a phone, turned it in, then made sure the poor, distracted grandmother got her phone back.

It’s why I love her so much.

Disney World Vacations 2019 theme parks Animal Kingdom Yak and Yeti Restaurant
Inside the beautiful and highly regarded Yak and Yeti restaurant.

Finally, the Disney World cast members’ friend left and the three got back to taking people to their seats.

Very soon, one took us upstairs.

We feared that if the cooks and servers behaved as badly, our meal might not be as awesome as we imagined.

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

avatar flight of passage ride, animal kingdom, disneyworld
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.