"My pursuit of information knows no shame."

Day: 6
Date: 23/07/08
Event: Animal Kingdom and More

Today I entered and exited 3 theme parks, rode 3 monorails and 2 buses, ate in 1 restaurant, took 2 taxis and 6 rides. I also saw an ant-eater, discussed the mindset and propaganda machine that is the Disney entity, and drank three cups of coffee. Oh, and I saw a cute guy in the line behind me in Dinoland.

The day’s plan of attack;

  • Arrive at Animal Kingdom with Family, Split up
  • Ride the two rides in Dinoland USA. (ish)
  • Meaner over to “Asia” and ride Expedition Everest. (awesome)
  • Book it out of the park and take a bus to Epcot.
  • Sidle along to Mexico and eat lunch, pausing for a discussion of Pleasure, Pain, and Utility.
  • March out of Epcot and take two monorail to Magic Kingdom.
  • Fight our way over to Tomorrowland, ride Indy Speedway. (meh)
  • Be sucked into Space Mountain. (great)
  • Persevere across the park into Splash Mountain. (good)
  • Elbow our way out of Magic Kingdom, stopping to buy ice cream from a bearded woman from Hati.
  • Gawk at an amazing barbershop quartet by the gate.
  • Take a monorail and a bus back to Animal Kingdom.
  • Meet up with Mommy, Daddy and the small ones.
  • Taxi to the Hotel.
  • Order in Chinese food and discuss the jaw-dropping efficiency and pervasiveness of Disney.

And now some quotes from the past 6 days.

Walrus’s idea of smalltalk: “Oh, I just noticed! Your legs are really hairy!”

Gail (A nurse back home): “Mickey loves everyone, even if you haven’t met him before.”
Daddy: “Actually, Mickey is just an actor in a plastic suit. And he’s probably dying of heat stroke, which is why his smile is painted on.”

Person 1 in line: “And when you have the whole Big Mac meal, it’s over a thousand calories.”
Person 2: “Don’t think about that! You only die once, so you may as well enjoy yourself.”

Taxi Driver: “And after 9/11 none of the Americans were flying, so the Brits kept this town alive. Of course, they’re used to fighting the NRA, so Al Queda was no biggie.”

Gid, with a big grin; “I ate you!”

Gid: “I have lightning shoes!”

Me, draping myself over a balcony: “I’m going into Internet withdrawal.”

Walrus: “I’m drinking jelly beans!”

Mommy: “Well, Gid saw a dragonfly, Lacey saw a Giraffe, and Snazel saw a cute guy; so the day was a success.”

Daddy: “This whole experience is the kind of thing which requires years of prior conditioning- which we don’t have. Which might be why we’re a little skeptical of the $20 pirate mouse ears.”

Sam, riding down the freeway. “Car! Car! Car! Car! Car! Car?”
PT: “No, that’s a truck.”
Sam: “Oh. Truck! Truck! Truck! Truck!”

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"Dr. Who did not help that experience to be more reassuring."

Day: 5
Date: 22/07/08
Event: Hollywood Studios

This experience is very fun, but my tendency towards cynicism in not lessening. In Epcot there is a general feeling of Quality to the structures, or at least of solidity. But Here the whole idea is that it is movie sets, so it all rings slightly false. 😀 Hah! I mean, false even after the significant suspension of disbelief required for a theme park. 😛

We started the day with Star Tours; a Star Wars Themed ride. It was quite fun, but we realised afterwards that Slonner and Walrus have not seen the movies, which made it slightly incomprehensible for them. They still enjoyed it, however, so all was not lost. After emergence from that ride, we were off to meet Lightening McQueen!

This was the thing Gid actually wished for. And I don’t know- when you have a 4 year-old palliative patient who has had a rush wish (which means he doesn’t have a lot of time,) come to visit, wouldn’t you try to do something special for him? A meeting in Lightning’s Garage? Five minutes uninterrupted? A sticker pack? That was what I was expecting. What we got was jumped to the front of the line to get our picture taken with Lighting and Mater. Two minutes, tops, in the middle of the public square, with other people crowding in for their turn, and music blaring.

Now, Gid was still delighted. When I asked later what he did today he said that “I saw Lightening and Mater- and touched them!” I, on the other hand, wanted to punch something. Hard. Broken glass and blood, please. Bah, I believed the Disney propaganda, which is always a dangerous thing. I’ve just got a jaded soul and Gid is so cute it hurts. I was holding him while we were waiting for Lightning, and he is so thin. Such delicate hands. His eyes are huge, and when he grins he’s infused with happiness. You beam to look at him. Mommy bought him Lightning McQueen shoes last night, and he was delighted with the. And the thing with Gid is that when you use words like “delight,” “joy,” and “beam,” it is the perfect truth. Even with all he’s been through, he is so full of life and happiness. My little brother is an amazing little boy. I wish I could see the man he would be. I have been truly blessed to be his big sister for 4 years.

[Here I broke off to bawl in the bathroom for 10 minutes]

Anyhow, the day. We went on a number or other rides, but probably the most noteworthy were the Tower of Terror and Rocking Roller Coaster. The Tower of Terror, because of the, (yes,) terror it inspired. The title is my reaction after we staggered out. The Rocking Roller Coaster is worthy of note because of its truly impressive wait line. ToT was fun, I’ll say, but I have no interest in doing it again. Been there, done that, sneered at the t-shirt. Seriously, why are all the good snarky t-shirts in guy’s sizes only? Even if perchance they have an acceptable design, it’s on a pink background!

I don’t do pink. I am the anti-pink. Pink is against my beliefs. So why do half of all female t-shirts have to be on that accursed colour? *bites a pillow* This is me, not impressed.

And on the subject of t-shirts, Fraulein and I noticed a distinguishing feature of Brazilian girls while in the interminable line for the RRC. There are a lot of groups of teenage tours from Brazil, all with official t-shirts. And the girls, almost without fail, have modified their shirts. The modifications range from “falling off the shoulder,” to “sleeveless,” to “bikini top.” I didn’t know you could fashion a bikini out of a t-shirt, but these girls manage it.

Overall, today was another very fun day, and I’m becoming acclimatised and accustomed, but I don’t think I’d fork out my own money for another ticket.

We’re in the SYSTEM now!

Day: 4
Date: 21/07/08
Event: Epcot

Disney is pretty much the embodiment of wildly successful capitalism. 47 square miles of wildly successful capitalism. Not that it’s not warranted, mind you. Today was kind of our test-day, to see ho our other days will be organised. And it was very fun.

After getting through the gates, (which required a fingerprint scan, (for Homeland Security? No one knows.)) We split up into two group. Mommy, Daddy and the small ones in one group, and Slonner, PT, Walrus, Fraulein and I in another. As we’re the oldest, we’re sometimes refereed to as the G5, and we were unleashed on the unsuspecting theme park! *evil laugh* We commenced a detailed and carefully considered planning session.

“What’s that golf ball?”
“I think it’s a ride?”
“Wanna go on it?”
“Sure!”
*enters the line for Spaceship Earth*

In fact, that was the best line experience of our day. We were in the official queue for approximately 2 minutes before we were taken aside and let in the exit. Aren’t we special? *preens* There was on spot on the “time travel” ride when we saw Michelangelo painting the Sistine chapel, with an Alleluia playing, and I got hit rather hard with a wave of homesickness for Augustine. I never thought I’d miss music class, but that time has arrived! 😀 Then we got stuck up at the top. PT spotted a pair of legs sticking out form under a car, so he was either fixing it, or we’re run over him and they were bringing up the body bag. It was dark; who knows?

Anyhow, fired with enthusiasm at our short line wait, we headed over to Test Track. 50minutes later, we got on the ride. I guess not all park employees are as zealous to give special treatment! I should explain at this point, that we were told, as a wish family, that we wouldn’t have to wait in lines. 😀 *shrug*

By the time we emerged form there, it was time for lunch. Whereupon we went to Morocco! For those not familiar with Epcot, it has 11 “international showcases,” which ostensibly represent Canada, UK, France, Morocco, Japan, US, Italy, Germany, China, Norway and Mexico. We lunched at Morocco, including some truly incredible coffee.

I have absolutely no inclination to close my eyes.

Then we did all the other countries. Well, not the US or France, but those hardly count, right? *ducks*

Among the G5, it was agreed that Japan, Germany, Morocco and UK, were the best, with Japan being “The place I most wish I had money for.” I almost bought a Kimono, as they were SOOO pretty, but by the time I would have bought one that wasn’t rayon, with the proper accoutrement, I could easily have spent $200. Therefore I decided to wait for my trip to Japan, which will happen someday! Why wait? Because I would certainly wear it on the street, and it would keep the cringe factor down if I didn’t have to say I bought it at Disney. So I bought Slonner a Parasol instead.

Then we went on the most successful ride of the day, which was Mission: SPACE. We were waved into the Fastpass line, but I’m still not sure if that was due to the Wish Uniform we were wearing or not. Anyhow, I tend to like anything vaguely space-related, and the ride its self was pretty awesome, so it was a general hit.

And now my legs are very tired. I don’t usually get to where it hurts to more. At last count, that took a walk of 15 km. So we walked at least that. Oh, and after the small ones were in bed, we went to a MASSIVE Wal-mart. Truly, this takes superstore to a whole new level.

Most of the time I don’t know what is an average price for Clothing, or shoes, or even media. But one thing I am very certain of is the average price of chocolate; and the bars at checkout were only 60% of the prices we get at home. Even with the exchange, that is still a significant benefit to the American shopper. I mean, no wonder the American students were aghast at Canadian Prices!

And one last discovery. I need to work on feeling more secure in public places. If I’m walking around in a basic state of insecurity, wanting only to retreat to my room, that tends to defeat the purpose of travel, no? Or maybe I can just go where there is an absence of crowds. 😛