When we left off, we had just gotten off of Pirates of the Caribbean and were on our way to the ride with the animals that Hagger was so eager to get to (if he couldn't just go to the really slow ride with the angry caterpillars). But first, since it was on the way, we took the boys up Tarzan's Treehouse. They were way ahead of me, so they weren't paying any attention when I reached out to Sabor, which was a little disappointing. Even more disappointing was that in the room where the mirror shows you scenes from Tarzan's life, the mirror wasn't even on. I mean, it looks like most people just climb the treehouse, following the trail and never stopping to admire all the work that went into it, but no one's going to bother looking at it if it's not working.
Fortunately, Jane's sketchbook was still working fine, but unfortunately, about 90% of the fun stuff in the camp at the bottom of the treehouse was either gone or not working. It was seriously very disappointing. So disappointing, in fact, that Hagger decided that, instead of staying at this super boring camp where there were only about two fun things to do that were already taken, it would be way more fun to run all the way back up to the top of the treehouse. And of course we know he made it all the way to the top because someone had to follow him and catch him, and that someone was Athena. She informs me that he made it all the way back to Sabor, where he informed her that if you touch the book (there's a storybook in front of all the displays), he growls, and proceeded to grab her hand and slam it repeatedly onto the book. It didn't work, because the real way to get Sabor to growl is to be stupid enough to try to pet the hungry jaguar.
Well, eventually Grawp got a turn at the two or three things to do in the camp (the xylophone and the rain sticks are still there and working properly, and there's a thing you shout into that amplifies your voice and is supposed to do something, but I couldn't detect any change, so I don't think that was working, either), Hagger had run back down the treehouse, and Sarah had spotted the grandparents with Hermy, so it was time to get back together and go on the ride with the animals: the Jungle Cruise.
The line was long enough to take us upstairs, but not so long that it filled the whole second story of the queue area, which meant there were roped-off areas that Hermy decided would be the Best places to run around in. The grownups were constantly trying to keep her in line (literally), and at one point, she stood on the wrong side of a rope and looked mischievously up at Athena as if to say, "I bet you can't catch me!" and dashed off! At the same time, Athena reached over as if to say, "Child, my arm is longer than you are. I 100% can catch you," and stopped her right in her tracks.
We did eventually get our enormous party safely on the ride (it wasn't that big; only nine people), but I don't really remember how the tour guide was, except that she sang the Hokey Pokey, and we always think that's a bad idea, because it's not the same tune as what the natives are chanting. It's better to speak it.
But the reason I had a hard time paying attention to the tour guide is that first, I was busy trying to photograph the kids' reactions to stuff. I did this with Celeste's kids, too, so I think that in and of itself wouldn't have been too much of a distraction, but! the other thing was that every time we turned a corner, Grawp would smack me on the arm to get my attention and point something out. It was super cute, so I didn't bother telling him I've seen it all a hundred times. Now let me see if I can remember his reaction to the zebra...
We got to the savanna and Grawp was looking around at all the animals, and he saw the zebra... I think he said, "Oh, look at the zebra! ...Do zebras sleep like that?" and after some more thought, "Or is it dead?" ...And it's possible that I made up that monologue, but I assure you it was something along those lines, and I am pretty sure he came up with the idea that it might be dead all on his own. I was prepared to stick to the "dead tired" joke, but then he smacked me on the arm to point out the guys running away from a rhino.
The best part, which unfortunately I was not prepared to capture on film (or memory card or whatever), was when we got to the piranhas. Sarah was holding Hermy and Hagger was leaning on them, and Sarah had forgotten about the piranhas or was distracted or something, so when they suddenly jump out of the water with their loud "KSHH KSHH KSHH KSHH", all three of them jumped about a foot in unison. It was awesome.
Incidentally, I just pulled out the camera for reference on where we went next, and the look on Grawp's face throughout the Jungle Cruise is classic. Like he's on a very serious investigation.
So what did we do next? We went on Dumbo! It's a popular ride and we went in the middle of the day, so we got to experience the ride's fancy new queue area, where they seem to think that alliteration means just starting all the words with the same letter. "Euphonious Equestrians" is not really alliterate, you guys. Hermy was up to her old "run out of line" tricks, sometimes trading places with a kid from the family in front of us. You know, the usual. When we got to the front of the line, we were reminded that they changed the seating procedure, so you don't get to choose any Dumbo you want--when you're in the next group, you stand on a number, and when they let you on, you go to the Dumbo that has that number. I mean, you can trade with people, but the options aren't as great. But lucky for us! Hermy wanted a pink Dumbo and Hagger wanted an orange Dumbo, and we happened to get a set of numbers that included both colors. And Hermy, who had been afraid of just about all the rides until now, actually had a good time! Yay! (I mean, what kid doesn't love Dumbo?)
Next it was time to get the children the ice cream Hagger had been chanting about off and on all day, so we bought some ice cream and sat down to eat. As the kids enjoyed their treats, who should come walking along but the Beast! He was getting ready to do a set on the carousel with the Pearly marching band, so I ran off to take pictures of that, but the significance of that is that this is when Hagger informed us that the Beast is really a human. And he didn't mean that in the sense of he'd seen the movie and knew that the character of the Beast was a human prince under a curse. He told us it was really a human wearing a costume. ...We really weren't sure how to react to that.
When the ice cream was finished, we went on Casey, Jr., which is actually one of my favorite rides. We almost had a disappointment when Hermy insisted that she could not wait and had to go to the bathroom right when we got to the front of the line. To her credit, she did try. She told her mom she had to go, and Sarah asked if she had to go now or if we could go on the train first, and she said, "Train!" But then she changed her mind, and frankly I think we're all glad we didn't take the risk. Fortunately, we asked the cast member if we could wait for the next train, and that was perfectly acceptable...well, for everyone except for Hagger, who was understandably upset about the train being right there in front of him and not being allowed to get on it. He was only mildly upset, though. Maybe it was the ice cream.
Anyway, Sarah and Hermy got back just in time to get on the next train, so Athena, Steve, the boys, and I all got into the wild animal car while Sarah took Hermy into the pink monkey car. They all had a good time, and Hermy was enjoying herself so much that at one point she started dancing along to the soundtrack, which was super adorable.
Next we went on the carousel, and from there, the boys both recognized Pinocchio on the facade to Pinocchio's Daring Journey, so we got in line for that next. I feel really bad about this one, because I keep forgetting how disturbing the stuff in Pinocchio can be, and even though Hermy had indicated from the start that she did not want to go on the ride, we convinced her to go anyway. I thought it would be okay, because I had a new strategy of overreacting and being silly so that she would be laughing instead of scared of everything...but this is not a strategy I am in any way skilled at pulling off. She was quiet during the ride, and then as soon as her mom got her outside into the safe sunlight, she started bawling.
This is where the grandparents stepped in and said, "That's it, we're taking her on It's A Small World." Meanwhile, Athena, Sarah, and I took the boys over toward the really slow ride with the angry caterpillars--another thing Hagger had been asking for periodically throughout the day. But on the way, we saw a cotton candy stand, and that's another thing the boys had been wanting all day, so it was the time of reckoning. And reckon we did.
Grawp was quick! and immediately selected the cotton candy that was done to look like candy corn. Hagger saw this and decided he wanted a blue cotton candy. Sarah said no, they were only getting one, because two would be too much to eat. Cue the waterworks. Hagger started chanting again, only this time in the whiny, crying voice you get from kids about his age (I would refer you to the Bumbi's mom episode of Slappy the Squirrel on Animaniacs), "But I wanted a blue one!" Of course, the oh-so-helpful cast member, apparently realizing he needed to restock the cotton candy display, pulled out blue cotton candy after blue cotton candy, the little twerp (twice my size, but whatever). It's possible he was out of the candy corn ones, but in that case, he could have waited until we were gone. We're suckers enough without his help, thank you very much.
Hagger's chant morphed into, "I wanted one of my own!" as we walked him and Grawp over to the line for Hagger's long-awaited really slow ride with the angry caterpillars, Alice in Wonderland. This did nothing to calm him down. The chanting continued. Grawp offered to share some of his cotton candy, but no, Hagger did not want any of that cotton candy, "I wanted one of my own!" Meanwhile, Sarah had gone off to see the grandparents about something.
None of our attempts to cheer Hagger worked, so eventually I asked him if there was something he could do to earn his own cotton candy. He said, in the same voice, "I don't know!" (but at least he reacted, so that's good). This is when Athena stepped in and said if he could stop crying (the waterworks stopped instantly) and give her a big hug, and give me a big hug, then we'll say he's earned his own cotton candy. He obliged, and off I went to buy him a blue cotton candy, shortly after which point, Athena informs me, Hagger happily took some of Grawp's cotton candy. Sigh.
Back at the cotton candy stand, who should I find but Hagger's mother, already in line to buy him more cotton candy. (See previous comment about us all being a bunch of suckers.) She explained to me that when Hagger gets like that, he won't stop his chanting until he falls asleep, and when he wakes up, he'll start it all over again. I put my hand on her shoulder and said, "He gets it from his mother." Cue flashback music...
Way back when Sarah was right about Hagger's age, we went to Utah to visit extended family. One of our cousins had what was then the Holy Grail of new toys (even though it had been around for maybe a year or so already by then): the Cabbage Patch Kids Crimp and Curl Pony. It was a toy horse with hair that you could style, and it would actually crimp! and curl! (because there were wires or something in the hair strands). Naturally, we all wanted to play with it, but especially Sarah, because this toy was designed for kids her age (our cousin was only a year older than her).
At one point, our cousin was playing with the pony, and Sarah wanted to play with it, too. But for some reason unremembered, the cousin refused (probably because they were kids, and kids are jerks). I think there was some discussion about how it was our cousin's turn, and when she was done with it, she would let Sarah play with it. This was Not good enough. The whiny crying chanting began, "She won't share! She won't share!" (We were about twelve at the time, so this was a very vivid memory.) This went on for a very long time; I don't remember exactly, but I'm sure it was at least two hours (or maybe I'm exaggerating, because as a preteen I hated it that much). Our cousin isn't heartless, and neither is she stupid, so at one point she acquiesced, and yielded the doll over to Sarah, but alas, it was too late. "She won't share! She won't share!" the chanting continued.
So to Hagger's credit, at least he stops when you give him what he wants. Or maybe he just wasn't tired enough yet, or maybe it was the magic of Disneyland. In Sarah's defense, I think it was the last day of a long (for a five-year-old) trip away from home, and of course she's grown out of it.
Anyway, Hagger was one happy camper, in line to his long-awaited ride, eating his very own blue cotton candy, until he realized that the cotton candy was making his fingers sticky. And this child does not like having sticky fingers. But tragically, the wet wipes were with the grandparents. Fortunately, this was not as deep a distraction as the lack of his own cotton candy, so he was able to enjoy the ride reasonably well. Grawp didn't like it, because the ride takes you outside, and he wanted to go back inside, which we did, but for not long enough or something?, because when Athena asked him if he liked the ride, he immediately responded, "No."
Hagger was once again distracted by the stickiness of his hands, but fortunately, there's a drinking fountain by the exit to Alice in Wonderland, so we were able to rinse them off and continue on our merry way...to the Teacups! Bwa ha ha ha ha! ...I don't know who I'm laughing at, because the joke was on me. This time, the groups were Athena and Hagger, and me, Sarah, and Grawp. Hagger was once again intent on doing everything by himself, the independent little go-getter, and he's not quite five, so the upshot of that is that Athena had a nice leisurely ride on a slowly spinning teacup.
Meanwhile, Sarah and I were trying to decide if we wanted to help Grawp spin our cup faster. Sarah started out helping, but then decided not to (I don't remember if she didn't like going that fast or if it was just too much hard work spinning the wheel, because those things do not turn easily), so Grawp did it all on his own for a while. But it wasn't going fast enough for him, so at one point, he shouted, "Help me!" So naturally, Sarah and I both started helping. On the plus side, it's good to know the kid isn't too proud, and knows when he needs to, ask for help. On the minus side, the whole world was spinning when the teacup stopped. Sarah and I both spent some time trying to find our footing. How do little kids do it? Dang.
Fortunately, it only took a couple of minutes for me to rally, and off we all went to join Grandma and Hermy on It's A Small World. This was another opportunity for us to enjoy(?) the newly renovated queue area (we've been on the ride with Gaston since they changed it, but if the line were that long with Gaston, he would have kept on walking), and the kids made the most of it this time...by practicing their photography skills! There was just a tiny bit of squabbling over whose turn it should be to have the camera, but for the most part, it was just a good time had by all. I have a lot of really interesting pictures on my memory card now. And the only person who even came close to dropping the camera and breaking it was me! ...When I took it back from...Hagger, I think. Fortunately he had the wrist strap around his wrist, so it didn't fall to the ground.
The kids all enjoyed It's A Small World, and then...right, we went on the train! The big train, this time. We were going to ride it to New Orleans Square and then keep going to the Hungry Bear Restaurant for dinner. Steve and Sarah took Hermy and the stroller on ahead, which was probably for the best, because I don't think Hermy would have liked the visit to the Grand Canyon. While on the train, we ended up next to a couple of very nice old ladies who were handing out glow bracelets to all the kiddos. We didn't ask them why; we just graciously accepted. And we told them that the boys had a little sister, and we asked if we could have one for her. They decided to believe us, which is great, because Hermy was really happy to get it. ...Until Grawp snatched it away, because he was really into the idea of putting multiple bracelets together to make a necklace. Then she was Not happy, so Athena took her bracelet back and returned it to her.
Anyway, the boys seemed to enjoy the train ride. Hagger's almost five, which I think means he's almost outgrown the dinosaur phase, but he still liked to point out all the dinosaurs to me. He asked about a t-rex before we got to the end. I think he was satisfied to see it? I don't remember exactly.
We got off the train and started making our way to Critter Country, but we were intercepted by Sarah and Steve, who had learned that the Hungry Bear was already closed. I'm not surprised, because I know that restaurant has weird hours, but I feel like they keep changing, so I never know anything. I just stopped caring about that place when they built that stupid wide walkway that keeps us away from the river, and when they started making the chili too spicy.
So we went to have dinner at the French Market, which was interesting to me, because I think it's the one non-table-service restaurant we haven't eaten at (right, we technically haven't eaten anything from Harbor Galley, either). Hagger found a planter with a tree in it, and he walked all around each side and asked me what it was. I told him it was a planter, and he said no what shape is it. I think it was a septagon, and I feel like when I said that he was like, "Duh, I know that!" But I don't remember. Our energy was fading by this point.
For whatever reason, we decided not to eat at the French Market after all, and instead we trekked over to Red Rose Taverne, where they had food we knew everybody would eat. Athena and I decided to take another stab at the Grey Stuff, and Sarah confirmed our suspicions that it does in fact have cream cheese in it (sometimes I wonder if there's really cream cheese, or if our hatred of it makes us imagine it sometimes), so I guess we're done with that now. We let each of the kids try some, and...I think the "grey" part turned them off of it immediately. Hermy was willing to try it anyway, but after she had some asserted that, "It's yucky!" and refused to swallow it, the tragic upshot of that being that she had it in her mouth the whole time she waited for Athena to get her a napkin so she could spit it out. Well, she did it to herself, but I, too, understand the gag reflex.
The kids each got a Gaston Power Pack, which I finally figured out has goldfish crackers, fruit, fruit, something fruity, and more fruit. Oh wait, one of those things is vegetables. (I think it's apple slices, carrot sticks, drinkable yogurt, and a banana.) But Sarah is raising them right and they are able to eat carrot sticks without gagging, unlike us.
We only had energy for one more ride on the carousel...I think Hermy expressed a desire to go on Dumbo again, so Sarah asked, "Do you want to go on Dumbo or the horseys?" and she lit up and said, "Horseys!"
And then it was another time of reckoning...only with a lot less actual reckoning, unless you count financial. See, at one point in the day, we met back up with Hermy and suddenly a super soft plush Pluto had materialized along with her. This caused a bit of squabbling as the kids argued over who got to hold it, etc., so the boys were each promised a toy as well. And now it was time to make good on that promise. Off we went to the toy store on Main Street!
Athena and I each picked one of the boys to follow (and make sure he didn't get lost in the massive crowds) as he chose the perfect toy. I went with Hagger, and first he showed interest in the lightsabers. But he wasn't sure that's what he wanted, so he continued to browse. After picking up a few things and evaluating them, he started walking around going, "Where is it, where is it?" Wanting to help him find whatever it was he specifically had in mind, I asked where is what. He replied, "The one that's super cool!" Eventually, he decided to get some Black Panther gloves, which was a little baffling to me, because I showed them to him earlier and he told me no. Whatever, dude.
Grawp went with the classic bubble wand. He'd been seeing them around the park all day, and Hermy lit up whenever she found a friend to blow bubbles at her, so it really seems like a smart choice.
And then it was time to say goodbye. Kimee had already left (she was wiped out from having worked Mickey's Halloween Party the night before), so we returned the stroller, and there were hugs all around, and everybody went back to the car for their long drive home while we set off for our apartment. The end.
Ah, the memories.
Today I'm thankful for another successful(?) trip to Disneyland with family, not being too addled by the teacups, two more great sessions of General Conference, the pictures of Grawp on the Jungle Cruise, and a short visit from Eren Jeager.