The Promised Vacation Blogs

Well, The Boyz are back in school, so it’s time to finish off the summer blog! Time for the blogs I promised…

The Morons

To be fair, I may be guilty of being a moron a couple of times.

One of the great challenges with visiting Disney World or Universal theme parks in the summer is the crowds.

Most people are super awesome, but with sooooooo many people, there can be a lot more morons. It’s basic math.

But rather than focus on them, why don’t we learn from them.

  1. For the love of God, don’t go the wrong way in a double stroller. See, there’s a flow to a river of people at theme parks, and when you’re on a narrow boardwalk or side street, it’s critical not just to try and plow your way against that tide like an ice breaker. It creates massive log jams. Duh. Instead, get back into the flow. People will let you into the flow, just re-enter it, don’t continue on like a blind hippo.
  2. Don’t litter even if you’re from NY. I get that it’s what you do in a lot of American cities, but resist the urge to slurp down your Mickey shake and then just drop it on the ground, splashing sticky Mickey milk everywhere.
  3. Why get angry at the security guards searching your backpack or stroller? It’s the world we live in and those folks aren’t in charge of policy but by god, you know they’ll be held accountable if some nutjob slips in with a bomb or an AR-15.
  4. If you need to clean up your baby, go to one of the many bathrooms, do not use one of the rides in a waterpark. I don’t think I will ever enter a wave pool again.
  5. When you’re told not to shout at the animals, please do not shout at the animals.
  6. If you decide not to go on a ride, please make that decision before you spend 30 min in line, then have to push your way past 10,000 people waiting in line. Yes, this was one of us. No names.
  7. Don’t punch or kick the characters. I get that Goofy looks like a goof but stop your kid from trying to kick him in the balls. Have a chat with your children ahead of time. “Son, daughter, wave at Darth Vader, don’t run up and hit him with your $200 lightsaber, ice cream cone or baby brother.”
  8. If you’re thinking of making a rude request of a character for a laugh, think, again, frat boy. Muriel will not sit on your lap. Why would you think that’s funny?
  9. The Disney or Universal characters are awesome but don’t stress them out with unreasonable requests, like looking after your child while you run to the bathroom.
  10. Line-ups at the food counters are crazy sometimes, so when you arrive at the counter, it’s kinda cool to have your order ready, not start by glancing up at the menu board, putting a hand to your chin, and going, hmmmm, what do you have to eat here, let me see, oh, mmm, a burger, but I don’t like burgers, I want a sandwich, but I don’t see a sandwich, wait, there’s one, but oh, can I get it without fries, yes, great, now little Johnny, Billy, princess Leia, uncle Herb, grandma Fettering, what do you guys want?

Honestly, most of this seems like common sense.

*****

The top 5 things that made The-Prettiest-Girl-in-the-World the most awesome person ever.

  1. She started to direct the people in the line-ups at the airport. See, people weren’t paying attention when airline staff became free, even when the staff were waving and shouting, “next!”, so she stepped up and pushed people towards the right counter (wait, ok, apparently ‘pushed’ is not accurate. Funny, but not accurate. “Influenced” may be a more appropriate word.)
  2. On the first day, when we were so soaked that water sloshed around in our underwear, she was the one who found a woman handing out towels. Now, we were all looking, with me in line at the front desk dripping puddles on the floor, but she found the towel woman. Props to Disney for even having one, but without her pretty eagle eyes, we would have dripped water like melting glaciers.
  3. On the buses, when it was crowded, she’d give up her seat for a mom with a little kid in her arms or an old grandma. Few others, – fit and healthy men included – did this. When did this curtesy disappear?
  4. When she found a phone (detailed here), she gave it to the hostess in the restaurant, which is cool, but when that hostess completely forgot about the phone, she marched up and reminded the girl, making sure the phone was returned to a very grateful grandma.
  5. This was not her style of vacation and yet she troopered through it, averaging 15-17,000 steps a day, dealing with the heat, carrying a backpack full of water, medical supplies and vats of sunscreen. She kept everyone’s spirits up in the Bataan death march that was the line-up for Thunder Mountain Railway, found the missing boys in the Blizzard Beach waterpark, gave Volanco Bay one last chance (that resulted in perhaps the best day ever), and put up with me going full-on nerd in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. She helped make this trip an epic adventure we will all remember for the rest of our lives. She’s the best mom, best wife, EVER!
Next vacation, Maui. I’ve sent the Rock a text asking him to meet us there.

Next vacation will be more to her liking. Maui. Beaches. Sparkling water. No line-ups. No schedules.

Oh, and The Rock . Thor. Jason Mamoa.

Traveling With Kids – San Diego Seaworld – Flash Adventures

 How Many Adventures Can We Have in A Few Hours?

When there is so much to do and so many adventures, how do talk about all of them without boring everyone to death?

Answer, you can’t.

But let me summarize as best I can. Like a quick montage in a movie. Or remembering a drunken night.

The First Ride
The First Ride

After the seals, the boys go on the octopus-like ride. No lines. They literally run on. Twice.

Giggles are heard. Oldest loves every minute of it. Youngest not wanting to show he is a bit, you know, not scared, totally not scare, nuh-huh, nope.

Sharks!!!!
Sharks!!!!

Flash to the shark tanks. Sharks! There’s an upstairs where you can see the sharks in the pool. It smells very salty and fishie. No big surprise, I guess. The oldest knows more about sharks than the guides. He explains how to spot a tiger shark from a reef shark, what the difference is between a white tip and a black tip shark (you may be able to guess this one,) and what food they should be feeding all of them (and surprisingly it’s not ‘his brother’.) It’s really impressive.

IMG_0389 (800x600)A walkway leads down below. It’s dark. The walls look like clay. The walls have teeth in them. The oldest LOVES the teeth embedded in the wall. Especially the megalodon teeth. He forgets to hide the fact that he’s having fun. He smiles and talks about the teeth with animated authority.

Then we’re deep underwater. It’s dark. There’s a moving sidewalk that doesn’t move. No need. Not a lot of people here. The youngest, with eyes wide and mouth open, gets to walk through a tunnel while shark glide by overhead and beside him. He stops, transfixed as entire tour groups try to move around him. The oldest explains to me why one shark can be still and not die. I’d heard that if I shark stops moving, it suffocates. Not so.

None of the sharks attack. I am disappointed. The boys could have spent hours in that tunnel. The want to be sharks. They want one as a pet. The oldest wants to genetically engineer one that will talk with him.

IMG_0397 (800x600)I ask the oldest if he wants to take pictures for his dad. He’s not interested in taking pictures, in creating a visual history, (that’s my thing), but the idea sparks something in him. He loves doing things for others. So… pictures for his dad, a great idea. First, about 20 shark pictures. The, he wants one of him and his brother in front of, yes, you guessed it the megalodon.

Then to turtles. Not as menacing as sharks. A big slower. An old one has a huge bite out of his shell. I wonder what story he would tell. I ask the oldest if the turtle maybe swam into the shark tank. He looks at me like I’m having a stroke.

IMG_0423 (800x599)The youngest wants to take pictures of the turtles for his dad. He takes, well, about a thousand. Most, but not all, blurry. It’s hard to shoot in low light, harder still when you’re literally running around, and even harder when you refuse to listen to a wise new parent who has all sorts of great advice on how to take good pictures (even if, he himself, is completely unable to do so.)

The turtles are cute. But slow = boring. However, just as we are about to leave, we find a video game. We play small turtles trying to make their way to spawn on a beach. Evil, massive drift nets, oil pollution and sharks!!!! Try to stop us. We dive, we swim fast, we shoot upwards, at least one of us is eaten, at least one of us is captured by a drift net, but a few, a lucky few, make it to the end. The youngest spawns the most. For some reason, this does not surprise me. I expect this will be his future. 10 crazy-ass little ones of his own. Ha!

Outside, we wander past strollers lined up like soldiers on parade. Double strollers, umbrella strollers, high tech strollers with radar (or something that looked like it), strollers with coffee holders (oh what a good idea that is) and strollers with bags of diapers and wetwipes and toys and blankets. I’m glad, super glad, that I’ve entered this family at this point in the boys’ life. Stroller-aged kids look like a LOT more work. Plus, you know, strollers!

Now, if I was being wheeled around in one, that would be a whole different matter.

IMG_2194 (598x800)We go on to feel up manta rays in a pool.  I ask, what do they feel like? “They feel soft”, says the oldest. “They feel all raspy and rough,” says the youngest. Sometimes I think if you asked them what color the sky was, one would say blue and the other would say, white.

The youngest measures himself against a full grown ray. I refuse, having seen how close I am to a gorilla.

We eat almost too late. Everyone is getting the hangries. Hunger plus angry. Not a word I invented, but one I will promote. HANGRIES. We line up. We wait. We eat. No one is murdered despite the fact we have to wait a wee bit for fish and chips

Sitting down, that evil red-eyed bird appears and keeps an eye on the oldest. He’s sure it’s been stalking him. I can’t say he was wrong. I was kinda spooky. The oldest eats his food in record time.

But the real treats were yet to come.