Speaking of vacationing, I was just getting to the part in my family vacation report about going to Disneyland with all of the nieces and nephews. The original plan was to all have breakfast together at the Original Pancake House, but it turned out they couldn't seat all of us (maybe because we weren't there early enough), so we took the party to Downtown Disney for beignets and other breakfast items at Ralph Brennan's Jazz Kitchen Express instead. Only Athena and I were losers who broke away from the group to get sandwiches from Earl of Sandwich, because they make they make ones without sausage and bacon.
We were informed that the party wanted to start the day in Tomorrowland, and since we were so close to the Monorail station, we decided to ride that into the park. Then our first stop was Autopia, where Logan wanted to ride a red car, and Michael wanted to ride a blue car, but you don't get to choose your cars in Autopia. Incidentally, while we were in line, we spotted a boy who was bounding Gaston and were pretty impressed. Anyway, I rode with Logan, who tried to press the gas pedal himself but his legs just aren't long enough yet. We think they must have modified the cars some, because it used to be that you had to press so hard on the gas that you would come off the ride with a bit of a limp, but we haven't been quite that exhausted since it reopened a few months ago with Honda as the sponsor. And they won't let babies on that ride, either.
We went on the Finding Nemo Submarine ride, and the kids were super cute on that one. When you first get in the submarine, you're facing a wall that's covered in "barnacles" and "mussels" and "starfish", so as we were leaving the dock, Gabriel kept pointing out all the starfish, chanting, "Another sea star another sea star another sea star!" Neither of us was sitting near Michael, so we can't comment on his reactions. Logan was pretty astute. First he informed me, "I've never been underwater before!" (Not entirely true; he's been swimming.) Then we came to the part where you see a big animatronic fish, and he was like, "Whoa, look at the fish!" And the fish was in our line of vision for a while, so he was able to see it long enough to come to the conclusion, "I think it's a fake fish." Eh heh heh.
He got really excited when we went into the underwater caves and got to see all the Finding Nemo characters. And then he got excited in the Bambi sense when we left the sunken ship with the sharks and ran into the "balloons". I always thought that part was pretty cool...well, I did the first time when I went on the ride and it seemed to be timed better. But I thought it was a neat idea. But that was only because I went on it after I had been acclimatized to rides like Indiana Jones. If I had gone on this ride when I was Logan's age, I might have hated it just as much as he did, maybe even more. The scariness goes on for a while after that, what with the angler fish and the volcano, but it did subside a little with the jellyfish, because jellyfish are only scary if you're actually out among them. If you're safely inside a submarine, they're just pretty. And there's Dory going "boingy! boingy!" so you know.
Nevertheless, I should not have pointing out that we were being swallowed by a whale. All these things I think are cool now are things that would not be so cool to a five-year-old who actually contemplates his mortality...by which I mean he realizes that he is mortal, and things like being swallowed by whales could kill you. It was about that point that Logan said to me, "I don't like it in here." And I was like, "Awwwwwww!!!" in a sad sort of way. He was very relieved when the ride was over and he could finally get out of that darn submarine. But the story has a happy ending, because Grandma had finally gotten him the long-awaited cotton candy. It seems they actually made the candy corn colored cotton candy candy corn flavored (try saying that five times fast), instead of orange, lemon, and...whatever-white-is flavored.
While the kids were eating the cotton candy, the Jedi Training Academy show started. We weren't technically in the audience area, but we were close enough to it to watch anyway. The boys didn't seem nearly as scared of Sith lords as they were of dark enclosed submarine rides, but it's also true that after Darth Vader showed up, Logan went over to check it out, then quickly lost interest and went back to his cotton candy.
After that, the next interesting thing was meeting Mickey Mouse. I'm realizing too late that maybe I did want to go on It's A Small World with the boys, but I was sure that if they said anything cute, someone would have reported to us about it. So we don't know how they liked it. But Logan said he liked it and was singing "It's a Big World After All" intermittently throughout the rest of the day. (We're told he gets contrary like that sometimes.) But anyway, we met Mickey, who seemed to really like twins. He gave us each a hug and made kissy noises. One of Mickey's attendants thought our Chip and Dale pin lanyards were really cute, which I mostly bring up so I can tell everybody that Logan liked to stand next to me and turn all my pins upside-down. One time he showed me his handiwork and I said, "Wow, how did you do that?" and he replied, "Magic!" The kid knows his stuff.
Now we were on a meeting characters spree, but the line had just closed for Goofy, and the line had just closed for Peter Pan & Captain Hook. What's a party of toddlers supposed to do? Well, we went to Pixie Hollow, that's what! ...And they closed right after we got in the line, so whew. I might have mentioned before that Logan's favorite movie for a while was Tinker Bell and the Neverbeast, and his mother had never been to Pixie Hollow before, so she wanted to see it, too, and even her husband, who is usually the least enchanted of us all, had encouraged her to go see it, so we figured why the heck not. Well, because lines for character meet and greets take forever and a day, that's why. But that's okay, because we had the baby nieces, so we entertained ourselves by singing, "Lily SHARK dee-dee dee-dee-dee-dee" (I'm sure her parents got the tune from somewhere, but I don't know where) and watching the children dance to it. This song came in handy later when we wanted Lily to smile for the camera. She happened to be wearing a super adorable Tinkerbell bodysuit, too, so it was kind of like not going to see Tinkerbell would have been a crying shame.
First we met...a cast member! It's her job to kind of prepare the kids for when they go inside, maybe because that's where the kids have to wait with nobody in front of them, so it helps to have someone distract them, to prevent them from dashing off ahead. She was really cute, though, telling the kids that her talent was friendship, and asking what theirs were. Obviously Lily was a tinker talent, since she was dressed like a tinker. We determined that Michael had a climbing talent, because he was climbing on everything.
Next we met Rosetta! And she was very sweet. Despite having just met Mickey Mouse, Logan was very shy, and he hid behind us while his more outgoing brother ran up to give her a hug. I don't remember much of what she said, except that she commented on Lily's wings coming in. We all took a picture, and then we waited for the groups ahead of us to finish so we could meet Tinkerbell. This was the cutest thing ever.
Once again, Michael rushed over and gave her a hug. She made some conversation with him and their little sister, but we knew Logan liked Tinkerbell, so we weren't going to let him off the hook this time. We said to Tinkerbell, "We have a shy one over here..." and nudged him forward. She asked for a hug, but he was too shy. But she's a pro, so she knew just what to do. She said, "Okay, how about a handshake? Do you do handshakes?" and he shook her hand, and then she asked for a high five, then knuckles, and finally she asked for a hug again, and by now he was ready. Man, I need to remember to look through those Photopass pictures. Meanwhile, Michael was going around touching everything--he touched her tools on the table, he touched the pompoms on her shoes. He was a curious little boy.
Next we brought the cousins over for their turn to talk to Tinkerbell, and while that was going on Rosetta finished up with the last group, so she came over to hang out with Tinkerbell until all the groups left. Michael, the little pistol, tried to run away, prompting Rosetta to comment that he almost became a Lost Boy, and suggest that we come up with a Lost Boy name for him. His mother informed her that his name is Michael (like Wendy's little brother in the story), and she replied, "Oh, my! He's not related to Wendy, is he? Tink wouldn't like that." Bwah ha ha.
We said goodbye to the fairies and then went on Jungle Cruise before heading back to Fantasyland. Since it was one of the things Logan remembered from his last trip, we did the Sleeping Beauty's Castle walkthrough, which is still Maleficentric and dark and scary, so all three of the nephews were less than pleased by the end of it. Logan took it well enough, but when we got to the part where they have it set up so you can try to open a door only to have one of Maleficent's goons start snarling at you, I asked Logan if he wanted to try it (forgetting, again, that what's cool to me now would not have been so cool to me thirty years ago (note to self: do not take him into the sunken ship in Ariel's Playground)), he very emphatically shook his head no. I think this is where he commented on the monsters and I said, "It's okay; they're just fake monsters." Athena had a much better approach, telling Michael that it's okay because Prince Philip and the good fairies know just what to do to make it all better.
We finally got to show them the happy ending, but then they had that stupid Maleficent silhouette at the end, like, "And they lived happily ever after...or did they!? Mwa ha ha ha ha ha!" and we wanted to strangle the designers. It made us want to take them to the Cinderella walkthrough at Tokyo Disneyland, which is decidedly not dark and scary.
Then we just hung out in Fantasyland for the rest of the day, except when we sneaked off with Celeste and her husband to go on Indiana Jones and the Temple of the Forbidden Eye. We went on Dumbo, and Athena rode with Logan, and she explained that there's the one part at the end where they make everybody go up to the top, but other than that, they can go as high or as low as they want. Logan replied, "As low as we want, because I don't like heights." So they kept their Dumbo pretty low for most of it, but he did take it up high, and he really liked it. He said, "I can see everything!"
And I just remembered--I have something to say about the queue area to Dumbo. The different sections of the line are marked off by an iron fence...and the posts of the fence are narrow iron rods at intervals just above the width of a toddler. In other words, the toddlers can fit between the bars, and boy do they take advantage. It was maddening, and we were constantly yelling at whoever designed it, whenever we weren't telling the children, "No, we stay on our side of the fence." Someone (more than one person) suggested that they didn't want the kids to get their heads stuck, to which the obvious solution is to make it too narrow for that. But then we went on the carousel, which was a walk-on, but I noticed that if we had had to wait in line, there were no bars at all, so...I don't even know what the deal is.
Anyway, the other thing about waiting in line for Dumbo is I guess Logan was getting tired, because he started kicking me. I told him no kicking, and he stopped, but that gave Gabriel an idea. He started kicking me. So I started yelling (not in a mean way, more in a, "Help! Help!" sort of way), "No kicking!" And indeed he did stop kicking me. And then he told everybody in line, "No kicking!" Cute kid. He likes to narrate his life.
When we got back from Indiana Jones, everybody was in Tomorrowland, where the kids were waiting to go on the Astro Orbiter. The Astro Orbiter is the Tomorrowland version of the Dumbo ride. The difference is that you're in rockets and not flying elephants, and it goes higher and faster (but not much faster). I let Logan take the controls, and this time he was pretty happy to go up high. He told me, "I like it up here. I can see everything!" When the ride was over and his mother joined us again, he told her that he really liked it, and he wasn't afraid of heights anymore. Awwwww♥
We ended the day with a ride on Peter Pan's Flight, using the special tickets that Kimee's cast member friends provided her. We mostly avoided dark rides, because we noticed that the kids don't seem too partial to darkness, but this was Peter Pan's Flight, and the flying usually makes up for everything. And indeed, Logan did look with wonder and awe at the dioramas of London and Neverland--especially Neverland. He pointed out the volcano, and looked around at everything--and I do mean everything. He looked straight up...and saw the beam attaching our "flying" ship to the rail overhead. That's when he informed Athena, "It's just fake flying!" (She says he was pretty excited (or amused?) about it.) Meanwhile, I was riding with Kimee and telling her all about why the Japanese version is better. Eh heh heh.
Okay, so just kidding about ending the day with Peter Pan. Knowing her children's lack of enthusiasm for dark rides, Sarah wanted to make sure to have a definitely fun memory in case Peter Pan's Flight turned out to be too scary. So we ended the day on the carousel. Tadah! Mom bought all the nephews a lollipop (the nieces are too little for that), and then we went home and finally got a good night's sleep. But we had a really good time.
Today I'm thankful for getting to take the nieces and nephews to meet Mickey Mouse and Tinkerbell (and Rosetta), getting to listen to our Soul Eater CD, castle walkthroughs that aren't all dark and scary, the weather being not quite so hot today, and not having to leave the apartment in this heat.