Adventures In Baking: Squirt Happy Turtlecakes

When my son was little, he used to call cake “Happy Cake” (probably because of “Happy Birthday” accompanying the cake). So when I came across a recipe for “Squirt Happy Turtlecakes” on Spoonful.com, the name alone was a big draw for me. 🙂  I decided to make them for my birthday, which is tomorrow.  I did let the kids help. 😉 And my daughter even suggested an improvement, which was to dye the frosting blue!

 

So if you’re coasting through this blog post without clicking the link – which is totally fine – I’ll just sum up with an explanation of what it is. The recipe isn’t so much for the cupcakes as it is for the decorations, which use candy to make cute little representations of Squirt, the baby sea turtle (offspring of Crush) in “Finding Nemo”.  The blue frosting takes the idea one step further, suggesting (along with the cupcake liners we picked out) the Big Blue and the EAC.  I won’t reprint the recipe here but do go to the Spoonful.com link above if you want to try these cupcakes, which are fun and easy!

 

Meanwhile here are the visual proofs of my labour!

Yaaay cupcakes! There IS a difference between muffins and cupcakes without frosting, though I'll admit sometimes it's a scant difference.

Yaaay cupcakes! There IS a difference between muffins and cupcakes without frosting, though I’ll admit sometimes it’s a scant difference.

Our "turtle shells" are gummi peach rings and gumdrops

Our “turtle shells” are gummi peach rings and gumdrops

An assembled turtle shell

An assembled turtle shell

Spearmint leaf candies are sliced up for front and back fins

Spearmint leaf candies are sliced up for front and back fins

Oh no! WHAT HAS HAPPENED TO HIS HEAD?! (Obviously it's buried in the cupcake somehow)

Oh no! WHAT HAS HAPPENED TO HIS HEAD?! (Obviously it’s buried in the cupcake somehow)

A close-up; the recipe includes mini chocolate chips for eyes but I thought that was overkill. I admit that he looks a little incomplete, though.

A close-up; the recipe includes mini chocolate chips for eyes but I thought that was overkill. I admit that he looks a little incomplete, though.

My daughter insisted on her hand appearing in the photo to show off the completed Squirt.

My daughter insisted on her hand appearing in the photo to show off the completed Squirt.

We ran out of green gumdrops (seriously, it was like 4 to a bag!! We had TWO BAGS and only got 8 heads!) so the last few got different-coloured heads. They still love and accept each other!

We ran out of green gumdrops (seriously, it was like 4 to a bag!! We had TWO BAGS and only got 8 heads!) so the last few got different-coloured heads. They still love and accept each other!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2013 Trip Report: Day 3, part 2: Off to Epcot!

I love how she looks like she's about to fall backwards into the fountain

I love how she looks like she’s about to fall backwards into the fountain

All right!  So Epcot! I’d wanted to get there before the park opened, but the tent slowed us down some, and so did my reminding myself not to rush D. Nobody has fun if we’re nailed to a schedule.  Meanwhile, I was pretty excited for the Food & Wine Festival, but I knew not to assume D would want to eat much from it.

D and the Food & Wine signage

D and the Food & Wine signage

I OWN THIS PLACE! (I can dream.)

I OWN THIS PLACE! (I can dream.)

D’s favourite ride from before was Test Track; I had FastPass+ selections for Test Track, Soarin’, and the Maelstrom for the evening, so we decided to do whatever we could in the morning and just have fun. 🙂  I also had a (somewhat rough) itinerary in hand, with our FP+ times on them as well as a schedule for the earlier part of the day.  I’ll be honest: most of the times on the schedule did get shuffled around. And I honestly think that’s how it should be. 🙂  FLEXIBILITY!

But our first priority for the first ride of the day was still: New Test Track!

A quick side note to mention that one of my favourite things about this trip was running, hand in hand, with D to get to our destination.  Except for the times we skipped. That was awesome too. 😀

Test Track’s new ride is very, very streamlined.  It was weird to be in there and try to remember what the queue used to look like!  It’s a completely different experience now.  The interactivity is neat: getting to design your own car is a fun way to pass the time while you’re waiting to board.  Low light levels made it very hard to get a good set of pics on this ride’s queue, but just remember, I was trying FOR YOU. 😛

Uggggh, I really can't believe I'm letting you guys see this awful pic.

Uggggh, I really can’t believe I’m letting you guys see this awful pic.

It's the lighting making the pics look like this. REALLY.

It’s the lighting making the pics look like this. REALLY.

TOUCHSCREEN TECHNOLOGY!  Is there a child alive who doesn't love this?

TOUCHSCREEN TECHNOLOGY! Is there a child alive who doesn’t love this?

Here is the car that we designed. (Mostly D but I love touchscreen technology too.)

Here is the car that we designed. (Mostly D but I love touchscreen technology too.)

Once we’d designed our cars and we were allowed into the next queue area, it wasn’t a long wait to board our ride simulator whatsit, whatever they called it.  Simulator was in there somewhere (unless it wasn’t).  There was a little boy who was very, VERY sad that the car he designed was not the car he got to ride in.  He was crying and we heard him shout “I HATE this ride!” as that family departed… poor baby!  I wonder how much disappointment that ride can create. XD

The ride was certainly fun, and D *loved* it, so I was glad I already had FastPasses to ride it again in the evening; however, speaking for myself, I have to be honest that I preferred the old version.  As clunky and unattractive as it was in parts, you knew what was going on in each test.  I found this version hard to follow, especially because we didn’t properly load our car’s data on the first time we went through, so it took me a while to figure out that they were ranking the specs of the cars.

Tell me this is not one ugly car. And I will call you a liar. :)

Tell me this is not one ugly car. And I will call you a liar. 🙂

What they do is, as you design your car the computers rate that design on certain areas of performance.  Then when you go through the ride, as you’re having fun being bumped around on the track, they run your car’s data with the cars from the other riders, and rank them in each area.  Then at the end they rank each car overall.

Personally, I miss the heat, cold, and corrosive acid rooms.  But, that’s me. 🙂  I mean hey! Tron is fun too. ;P  No, but seriously, it’s still a fun ride and other than missing what’s not there anymore, I don’t think there’s much to complain about.  Plus that fast loop at the end is still there. XD

The cheap way of getting your ride photo!

The cheap way of getting your ride photo!

Having finished the necessary step 1 for the day, we moved onto my second one on the itinerary: Ellen’s Energy Adventure. I was a little bit on the fence about it, since it’s VERY long, but I had a couple of reasons for choosing it: one, I was honestly trying to do the science-type stuff while we were there so that D would pick up some information.  (In fact, I made her write a tiny little report about this ride later.) Two, D loves dinosaurs but I knew “Dinosaur” would be beyond her – too much scary things jumping out at you in that ride.  And three, I hadn’t done it since 2005 and it really does deserve SOME attention.

It's a pavilion of ENERGY!

It’s a pavilion of ENERGY!

On the walk, I explained to D that the lady starring in it was the voice of Dory in Finding Nemo (D: “Oh. Wow.”), and also that the animatronic dinosaurs were only in one part and that they kind of snort at you but not much else.  We got to the theatre just about five minutes before the next pre-show started, and we’d just gone inside when D asked more about the dinosaurs.  Somehow she got it into her head that it was a movie only, and that the animatronics would come *into* the room and like, sit near her and mess with her or something. I’m not clear on this. 😀

She nearly kiboshed the whole thing and in fact got herself into a slight panic so we had to leave the building, but outside I explained to her that it’s not scary, it’s no worse than the Great Movie Ride, and I’d be there with her the whole time.  She finally relented and we’re both glad she did!  The movie is fun, it honestly is – though largely because Ellen DeGeneres is such a delight. 🙂  And Bill Nye the Science Guy was just cute in the 90s. 😉 She did indeed write the report on the attraction.  I’ll look for it later and see if I can put up a picture.

For what it’s worth, as a frequent Disney-goer, I don’t recommend going on Energy Adventure every trip.  If you’ve never done it, DO IT.  If you have, but you’re on a long trip and will be spending at least 2-3 days at Epcot, do it.  If you’ve done it and you’re only going to be at Epcot for one day, skip it.  It doesn’t change.  It may or may not be there next time you come, but at least you’ve done it in the past.  I say this with love, but it’s just so LONG, and there are other things at Epcot to discover if you’re limited on time.  But DO make an effort to see it if you haven’t before; D and I sacrificed nearly an hour of our single Epcot day for it and neither of us regret it. 🙂

Trip Report 2013: The last of Day 2! For reals, now.

After redoing Star Tours, we headed on over to Toy Story Mania to finally use our FastPasses.  It was the same ride it always is, which is to say, FUN as heck and fast-moving but I will not ride it without a FastPass.  I used the standby queue ONCE, on soft open in 2008.  It was 45 minutes and honestly?  It was WORTH it, because I was alone, the ride was fun, and Mr. Potato Head was awesome. It is a great queue! But I wouldn’t wait 45 minutes now, with my kids, and I’ll tell you one more thing: the line is never, ever as short as 45 minutes. I never see it less than 60 and sometimes up to 90 minutes.  No deal.

So long story short, I haven’t seen Mr. Potato Head in 5 years. His loss, really.

He's been waiting for me to return, all this time.

He’s been waiting for me to return, all this time.

Anyway after TSM, it was past 6:30 so we were off after dinner.  I had picked out Fairfax Fare as our dinner place, because D loves herself some mac and cheese and they have some really interesting gourmet hot dogs.  I hadn’t paid much attention to where Fairfax Fare is located but I knew it was on Sunset Blvd, and had a pretty good mental picture of where I thought it was. Because I am awesome, I was pretty nearly EXACTLY right. 😀  (Still no maps, people! I didn’t pick up a map of HS until the next day!)

Sunset Blvd is my favourite area of the park, and normally I snap a ton of pictures as I walk down it.  This time I was trying to conserve batteries, so I didn’t, but you know – it’s kind of the same most times, I’ll admit.  So here are a few from my 2011 trip. 😀

Lovin' this walk!

Lovin’ this walk!

And lovin' this view!

And lovin’ this view!

Ever buy any produce from here? I'm sure it's very Anaheimy.

Ever buy any produce from here? I’m sure it’s very Anaheimy.

I have nothing special to say about this picture!

I have nothing special to say about this picture!

Ever found this luggage?

Ever found this luggage?

I'm almost sure that when I was here in '08, this same woman was assisting a director. I'm NEARLY sure it's her. Way to climb the ladder to fame, honey! :D

I’m almost sure that when I was here in ’08, this same woman was assisting a director. I’m NEARLY sure it’s her. Way to climb the ladder to fame, honey! 😀

The downside of being on Sunset Blvd is you’re staring down Tower of Terror, which you love like whoa, and on your left is Rock N’ Roller Coaster, which you also love like crazycakes, and your daughter is scared of both so you can’t do them this trip. Ohhhh, wellll. 🙂

 

This is from 2011, but I just can't resist sneaking in a pic of this view!

This is from 2011, but I just can’t resist sneaking in a pic of this view!

 

We picked out our meals at Fairfax Fare and moved off to the side to wait for them.  My plan for dessert was to pick up a cupcake from Starring Rolls that we could split; they had a limited time Halloween Minnie carrot cupcake at various counter service places that looked delicious and I’d eyed it but decided not to go for it this time, mainly because carrot cake normally has walnuts and D is allergic to nuts.

Well, our food took a little while to come, and while we were waiting the CMs told another couple of guests that they’d get the turkey legs that they had ordered for free if they gobbled like turkeys.  I had heard this as a rumour but never actually seen it demonstrated!  Sadly, the guests declined, and paid for their food.  Ahhh, well. 😀  They must have needed to give something away for free, though, because when our food came the CM looked at the time on our receipt and said “You guys have been waiting too long – be right back” and she came back with TWO full-sized Halloween Minnie cupcakes.  D asked “Do they have nuts?” and guess what?  They DIDN’T! 😀

So a quick food review: D got mac and cheese with carrot sticks and grapes, pretty standard.  I decided to get one of these fancypants hot dogs, so I got one covered with mac and cheese, bacon, and truffle oil. Yep – TRUFFLE OIL.  To be completely honest, I… don’t know what I thought of it. 🙂  Everything on it was good, but maybe I just don’t like hot dogs enough.  Or it might be the combination of the quick serve mac and cheese WITH the hot dog, I don’t know.  Either way, I have to admit I don’t recommend it.

Gourmet hot dog from Fairfax Fare: Mac&cheese, bacon and truffle oil. I give it 2 1/2 stars.

Gourmet hot dog from Fairfax Fare: Mac&cheese, bacon and truffle oil. I give it 2 1/2 stars.

The cupcakes, on the other hand – oh, myyyyy.  Neither of us could finish them (not even one, let alone both!), but they were wonderful. The frosting is orange – and is actually orange creme flavoured cream cheese frosting.  It’s topped with a little chocolate witch’s hat, in purple and orange.  D ate the hat, and some of the cake, but she said the frosting was too sweet and she didn’t really have much more than a few bites of her own.  I ate about half of mine, and D ate more of just the cake on mine before we had to toss them both; we were too full, and the frosting on them was melting in the heat!  She really enjoyed the cake part though.

Minnie Mouse Halloween Carrot Cake cupcakes!  4 stars! :D

Minnie Mouse Halloween Carrot Cake cupcakes! 4 stars! 😀

Absolutely wonderful, though, and worked out perfectly since I was going after cupcakes and no allergies got in the way. I do LOVE carrot cake.

By now it was getting dark. I decided that it would be fun to do a little shopping for ME; and for years now I’ve been looking for a particular shirt. I saw it in 2008 and thought “Nah, I’ll get it later” and then couldn’t find it in 2011.  It’s a Tower of Terror shirt.  So in the waning light I had D follow me to the gift shop for Tower of Terror – this was neat because she was able to see the entrance, some of the spooky decor, and the sign lighting up with the attraction logo on it – and we FOUND MY SHIRT! 😀

We also browsed around for some other gifts and I got into a discussion with a CM about Star Wars Episode 7.

At this point I was lugging around several bags, and it was dark, so we decided that MuppetVision 3D would be our next, and last, attraction before we left.  (We never did make it to meet Woody or Buzz, nor several other things I had said we would “consider”. That’s OK though.  We have no regrets.)

MuppetVision is the same each time, and yet each time I laugh like I haven’t seen it before. It’s such a goofy, lovely show.  The fact that it’s one of the last Muppet projects that Jim Henson worked on, and completed, may be part of why I hold it in high regard.

So you know how D got a little acknowledgment from the Tin Man in the Great Movie Ride?  Well, Statler and Waldorf picked on me. 😉  “Hey Waldorf! Look at that guy in the Goofy mask!” “That’s not a mask!” “Oh. Sorry, lady!”

Honestly I really do feel like they're actually really up there. :D This photo is by Jack Spence @ AllEars.Net: http://land.allears.net/blogs/jackspence/2010/08/i_know_i_heard_it_someplace_qu_2.html

Honestly I really do feel like they’re actually really up there. 😀 This photo is by Jack Spence @ AllEars.Net: http://land.allears.net/blogs/jackspence/2010/08/i_know_i_heard_it_someplace_qu_2.html

I noticed during this that they were looking approximately in our direction, so I said to D, “Hey! I think he meant me!  Statler, you’re a jerk!”

D took this seriously and kept reminding me afterwards that Statler heckled me. XD

One of my big joys was that I got D to start pointing out where Bean Bunny was.  There were not many people in the audience, and even fewer were kids; plus she’s not really a big “participation” kid, but when the voices come in saying “I see one! Over there!” I kind of said something like “Hey yeah! Up there!” to go along with it – this is how we’ve always watched “Mickey Mouse Clubhouse” too, with me answering the TV first and then her picking up on it.  Well, it worked this time too and she jumped right in. “Up there!  He’s right up there!”  Ahhhh, I like to think it’s probably kinda gratifying for the Sweetums guy when kids actually join in. 😀

D was also super-impressed by the state of the theatre as we left, and by the fact that by the time we were nearly out the doors, it was miraculously “fixed”. “How’d they DO that?!” she wanted to know.  Sometimes I tell her (usually if it’s something kind of scary), and sometimes I just say “Magic!” 😀

…So.  It was now nearing 8pm, and that was our time to leave.  We walked through the Muppet Stuff store in search of Fraggle Rock memorabilia (spoiler alert: there is none), then just wandered about a little bit.  I hated to leave, because I really do love this park.  Does it need some TLC?  Oh, yes.  I want it to be about the movies and Hollywood the way it used to. Kick out American Idol Experience – kick it to the curb!! – nobody likes that one.  (Now I’ll get comments from people who love it. In fact I’ll be sad if I don’t, b/c the idea that everyone really DOES dislike it is sad.)

Take out Lights, Motors, Action.  I love Indiana Jones but that show could be replaced or even removed.  I’m trying to resign myself to the reality that they will likely take out MuppetVision, even though I will cry if they do, and I hope it is still there for at least one more family trip so that my son can see it again before it’s gone… he doesn’t remember it from last time.

Star Wars Land would be fine but I would be happier if they’d revamp the Backlot Tour. I never do that anymore because frankly… what backlot?  And if they take out Graumann’s Chinese Theatre to put in Star Wars Land, I am going to kick some shins.  I’m serious.  SHIN-KICKING WILL HAPPEN.  Update the Great Movie Ride but don’t you DARE get rid of it! 😛

And that, my dear friends, is Day 2. And we can say farewell to Hollywood Studios now. 🙂

Trip Report 2013, Day 2, Part 3: Fewer Photos, More Words!

Still Day 2, still Hollywood Studios! (Only for 1 more post after this though…)  When we left off, D and I were heading to Pizza Planet for lunch.  Join us, won’t you?

Going in, D wanted to play a game in the arcade, as you do.  And she picked out – The CLAAAWWWW.  I should preface this by saying that D has played The Claw once before and didn’t win.  I told her before and after that people rarely win but she still took it hard.  So I didn’t really want her doing it this time, especially because it was a full dollar to play, but she was set on it.  She picked a machine with stuffed dogs in it, chose the one she wanted, and went for it.

Well, she didn’t get the dog she wanted but to my absolute astonishment she got the one next to it!  I don’t know, maybe they have the Claws set so that they’re easier to win on in DHS?  Or maybe it was just Disney magic at work! 😀 Anyway, all it took was a dollar and a single try!  She named it Mary. 😀

Mary the Lucky Dog! :D

Mary the Lucky Dog! 😀

So I know a lot of people who do not love Pizza Planet.  And I understand that.  There’s not a lot of food choices – I ended up not getting anything and just eating D’s carrots that came with her kids’ pizza.  But I do love the theming, and D’s not picky about her pizza, so we were happy. 🙂

I wanted to take pictures of Pizza Planet but didn't want to kill my battery. Here ya go. :P

I wanted to take pictures of Pizza Planet but didn’t want to kill my battery. Here ya go. 😛

On the way out I let her get a pressed penny.  This is something else I really never do – I consider pressed pennies to be a waste of 76 cents (or however much they cost now).  Those poor pennies!  But in this case, it was a decent option, because there weren’t many games in that arcade you could put money into and have something to show for it afterwards.  Since D is not a very good gamer yet I thought it was better to leave with a souvenir instead of a frustrating game attempt, so we went ahead on it.  She chose a Maleficent design. 😀

I have to confess to one thing: I can’t quite remember the precise sequence of events here.  I think we might have gone on the Great Movie Ride *before* heading to Muppets, but timewise, I’m honestly not sure of that.  So I’m sticking it in here, anyway. 🙂

As I’ve mentioned a couple of times now, the majority of the attractions at Hollywood Studios had very little lines, so our wait time was generally pretty low (and as I’ve also mentioned, this was lucky for D, who has no waiting skills at all).  We moved thru pretty quickly – didn’t even take any photos this time – and when we got on I tried to find the Hidden Minnie I knew was in the mural.  But it’s been so long that I couldn’t find it until we were passing it, and as we’re passing is NEVER long enough for D to pick these things out, so we missed it. ARGH.

Have you seen the Hidden Minnie in the Great Movie Ride mural?  It’s one of my favourites. 😀

Anyway, we got the gangster track this time around.  I think I always get the gangster track. I’m pretty sure I almost never get the western one.  I will say though, today it looked as if they only had one car running due to the small lines, so it probably would’ve been impossible for me to get the western track. *lol*  Anyhow, Mugsy was better than our guide. I wasn’t a huge fan of our guide, but Mugsy was pretty good.  Weird thing, I’ve had a few times when I’ve ridden this and the “bad guy” has been somewhat sympathetic, and sometimes totally not.  This Mugsy played it all Gangsta. 😀

D had wanted to go on the ride, but I don’t know if she remembered precisely what it was.  She enjoyed it, but the entire section from “Alien” until you pass the “horror movie” part, she really just can’t watch.  She has to bury her head agianst me and wait until I say it’s OK.  However, the whole thing is apparently worth it for her because of the “Wizard of Oz” part.

We got to the spot where Dorothy and her friends are standing and looking at the city of Oz, and D says to me “Wow! The Tin Woodman looks GREAT!” (He’s her favourite; she probably has a little crush on him, you know, as 7-year-olds do.)  She swears that when she said that, he turned in her direction and smiled. What I saw: programmed animatronic movement in her direction. What she saw: “I think he actually moved, like, with his feet. I think he heard me and turned around and smiled.  I’m pretty sure he’s not really an animatronic.” 🙂  She was talking about this for DAYS and DAYS, folks.

Anyway, as I said, that part is probably out of order because the next shots on my camera are in the Indiana Jones Stunt area, and I’m pretty sure we did that on our way out of the park (and it makes sense given that we were coming from that side).  I kept trying to find some of the “hidden” details in Hollywood Studios, and this time I found, for the first time, the “Do Not Pull Rope” excavation area near Indy.  So I told D to pull it.

I don't know, I'm getting a mixed message here.

I don’t know, I’m getting a mixed message here.

To her credit, D REALLY pulled. HARD.

To her credit, D REALLY pulled. HARD.

She was not enthusiastic at first, but I insisted, so she tugged, and there came a lot of noises and a man’s voice said “Hey you! Stop mucking about up there!”  D asked if there was someone really down there. 🙂

Then we made our way out of the park, taking the route around Echo Lake that has a good view of Gertie the Dinosaur, and past the 50’s Prime Time Cafe.

"I fed her those leaves," said D as we passed. "I feed Gertie leaves every day." <3

“I fed her those leaves,” said D as we passed. “I feed Gertie leaves every day.” ❤

I can't believe Eddie Valient STILL hasn't replaced that window blind.  Darn it, Roger!

I can’t believe Eddie Valient STILL hasn’t replaced that window blind. Darn it, Roger!

Then it was back onto the tram, so that we could drive to our campsite and set up camp.

This is our site before I set up the tent!  Annnnd I forgot to take a picture with the tent set up! *headdesk*

This is our site before I set up the tent! Annnnd I forgot to take a picture with the tent set up! *headdesk*

They put us in the 1500 loop both nights we were there (nonconsecutive)!

They put us in the 1500 loop both nights we were there (nonconsecutive).

So this was the plan. Leave around 2:30, get set up etc by 3, pool from 3:15 or so until 4pm, and then get dressed and head back to HS for the evening.  Most of it went OK; I took a little bit longer than I expected to get the tent set up, b/c D was fascinated by tiny lizards and was not interested in helping me unless I raised my voice. 😛

TINY LIZARDS EVERYWHERE.

TINY LIZARDS EVERYWHERE.

Second problem: Could not find swimsuit. (It turned up later but we only did the pools the first two days.)  D can’t swim, but she LOVES being in the water, so we walked across the road – our campsite loop was right across from the pool! 😀 – and I kept her from plunging into the deep end, which she was all ready to do.  I took her around to the front and had her play near the stairs the full time, so she mainly hung off the bars leading into the pool.

Here's the reasonably-awesome Fort Wilderness pool!

Here’s the reasonably-awesome Fort Wilderness pool!

And here is D absolutely loving water.

And here is D absolutely loving water.

I kept trying to get her to go into the splash area, but she really loves being immersed in water, so she held off.  Eventually I found some life jacket style floaties and had her get into one, then I sat and watched her for a while.  Eventually she decided she wanted to go down the waterslide, which is an AWESOME one, and even though I couldn’t be right there to catch her I let her go ahead; well, apparently the ride down was great but she swallowed/inhaled water at the bottom so there was no more slides after that. 😉  At this point she finally DID go hit the splash play area and had a great time.

This is D at the height of slide enjoyment. A split second after this she had water up her nose and pretty much everywhere else.

This is D at the height of slide enjoyment. A split second after this she had water up her nose and pretty much everywhere else.

The Ft. Wilderness Splash Play area... there are height restrictions but I won't pretend I didn't get soaked, myself.

The Ft. Wilderness Splash Play area… there are height restrictions but I won’t pretend I didn’t get soaked, myself.

So it was more like 4:30 before we were ready to leave the pool, and closer to 5pm before she was changed, dry, and ready to go back to DHS.  Ahhh, well.  Flexibility is key when you are at Disney World!!

So around this point, I realized we were going to have to drop something from our schedule and I was pretty sure that something was going to have to be Beauty and the Beast.  I had intended to see the 5:30 show, meaning we’d want to get there between around 5:15 or so, and when it was done at 6pm we’d still need to do Toy Story, Star Tours, Muppets, AND get dinner in there somewhere within about 90 minutes or so (since I intended to leave before 8pm).  So I asked D, and we discussed it and agreed that it was OK to drop Beauty and the Beast this time, even though I have been trying to take her to it since LAST trip! Oy! But yeah.

So we went on Star Tours again when we got there, and this time D was not the rebel spy, but I thought the adventure was better.  It was ENTIRELY different from the first one, not just one part different but two different planets (we got Tatooine on this one), and a hologram of Admiral Akbar instead of Princess Leia as we had on the first.  Afterwards D got to do her “Big Souvenir” for the trip, and she chose – not a surprise – a Build Your Own Lightsabre!  It was more affordable than I’d expected, with a single-blade one coming in at $21.95 pre-tax, and she really liked customizing it for herself. 🙂 To keep her 4-year-old brother from feeling left out I got him a flashing green lightsabre-shaped keychain. Which, I should emphasize, he LOVES and has used almost daily since we got back. 🙂

Okay friends and followers, we are NEARLY done. Honest. 🙂 One more post at Hollywood Studios, and I’ll have covered the full day!  Unfortunately that post is very low on pics, so I may see what I can cull from earlier trips just to have something to show off.  Give me a while and I’ll put something decent together.  Meanwhile, have a magical day! 😀

Trip Report 2013: Day 2, Part 2: More Hollywood Studios!

So, it was nearing about 11:30 or so and we got to Star Tours – finally! Our first ride at Disney World!

D wanted to take some pics as we approached and I’m all for that so I handed her the camera.  And she took pics of the souvenir cart.  Ohhhkay.

I don't know why, but she found this HILARIOUS.

I don’t know why, but she found this HILARIOUS.

I liked this one more. Nearly got it for my son, but hey, someday he'd outgrow it and then what?

I liked this one more. Nearly got it for my son, but hey, someday he’d outgrow it and then what?

I stuck D on the speeder bike but she wasn't really sure what she should do on it.

I stuck D on the speeder bike but she wasn’t really sure what she should do on it.

So I had to show her.

So I had to show her.

When we got to the entrance to Star Tours the wait was REALLY short.  That was cool!  It turned out there was a Jedi Training Academy going on and D stopped to watch.  I expected her to ask to participate, but I had forgotten she’s gotten really shy about standing up in front of people and doing things, so it never came up. After a while she was like “This IS exciting, but… it’s also kind of boring. Can we go?”  Haha.  So there we have it.

As it turns out, pics of the outdoor queue of Star Tours are REALLY tough to get!  Some of these were by D and some by me.

Ewok village!

Ewok village! Complete with authentic FastPass machines!

Worst. AT-AT picture. EVER.

Worst. AT-AT picture. EVER. I was hoping it would look like it was walking over us, but instead it just looks badly-lit.

You can't even tell what this IS, except it's going to crush D.

You can’t even tell what this IS.

The indoor queue is not all that much easier, btw.  Lighting issues. 😛

I get geek vibes when I actually pass C3P0. EEEK!  It's really HIM! XD

I get geek vibes when I actually pass C3P0. EEEK! It’s really HIM! XD

Artoo knows what he's doing.

Artoo knows what he’s doing.

Here are your departure times for the day, non-Basic speaking humanoids.

Here are your departure times for the day, non-Basic speaking humanoids.

REX! :D This was a pretty awesome throwback.

REX! 😀 This was a pretty awesome throwback.

I'vvve been workin' on the saaaame droid... Sigh. I can't tell you how many times I've HEARD the queue for the old ride even though I only rode it like, 3-4 times.

I’vvve been workin’ on the saaaame droid… Sigh. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve HEARD the queue for the old ride even though I only rode it like, 3-4 times.

Actually I love these guys. I read somewhere that these are "naked" versions of the geese in Splash Mountain.

Actually I love these guys. I read somewhere that these are “naked” versions of the geese in Splash Mountain.

Then the robot stewardess told us there was no photography allowed so I obediently put the camera away.

Best part: when she gives a little "click" and shifts to Spanish.

Best part: when she gives a little “click” and shifts to Spanish.

This was my first ride on Star Tours 2.0.  It was GREAT!  Last time I rode it was in 2008 (it was closed when we came in 2011), and I had thought to myself “well, that was fun, but I don’t feel like I really need to ever do that again.”  They did a great job with the new version!  I don’t know, I might not have enjoyed it quite as much if I hadn’t been with D, who is a HUGE Star Wars fan and was utterly delighted with it. ^_^

AND guess what happened???

Yep, D was the Rebel Spy!  Bahahaha!  She said it made her a little embarrassed but oh well for her. ;D  No, she was happy and excited, and what a great start to our trip!  It was really the first magic moment of quite a few. 🙂  The funny thing was, things went wrong left and right, but nothing ever ruined the magic for us.  I think it’s impossible to have a truly bad time at Disney World unless something HUGE happens, or unless you’re willing to let it ruin your day.  Neither was true for us, thank goodness!

Well, stepping back for a moment, we came out in Tatooine Traders and of course D wanted to buy everything.  At first she saw what looked like Storm Trooper helmets and really wanted one, but it turned out they were giant piggy banks – lol.  She moved on from that. ;D  I looked around for something for my son, who is 4 and also a huge Star Wars fan, but nothing was jumping out at me.  D became entranced by the “Build Your Own Lightsabre” display and begged to do it, but I said no, too big, too expensive.  I promised we’d come back and do Star Tours again FOR CERTAIN, and think about buying something then, so we moved on out and headed to Voyage of the Little Mermaid.

D and vaporator. I actually expected that to be a water fountain or a mister or something and was disappointed that it's fully dry.

D and vaporator. I actually expected that to be a water fountain or a mister or something and was disappointed that it’s fully dry.

This was the point at which my battery took a hit, so the number of pics will decrease from here on out. 😛

However, this is a recreation of a picture I took last trip:

2011, age almost 5...

2011, age almost 5…

2013, age 7!

2013, age 7!

Two and a half years of difference!

So about Voyage of TLM… I have to be honest here. I love this movie SO MUCH, and it’s always fun to see this show with D, but it’s uninspired.  And although the puppets they use are good, this particular performance was even less inspired than usual.  Ariel was flat, and the final sequence between Ariel and Eric could not have been more “eh, we’re bored, we’re going through the motions” on everything. It just looked like “meet the cues, meet the cues, another show is almost over.”  I didn’t really love it the first time I saw it either, but the times in between had been OK. This time… lackluster.  If D wants to see it again next time I’ll still take her, but meh.  We ended up taking Beauty and the Beast off our list due to lack of time this trip, and next time I think I want to push for that instead. (I liked it WAY better when I saw it, but I’ve still only seen it once.)

After this, since we were right near the Magic of Disney Animation, we headed over to meet some characters and eventually get some drawing done.  I didn’t love the idea of waiting in long lines, though… by this point I was getting restless because time was ticking away and we were still down an hour.  But I didn’t want to skip characters completely, so we made our choice: Wreck-It Ralph and Vanellope!  No regrets. First of all their queue was neat (though I wished these screens had actually been interactive… but they were still fun), and second it was just cool to meet them!

This is just a window to the house in Wreck-It Ralph.  Our best attempts didn't actually make it do anything. :(

This is just a window to the house in Wreck-It Ralph. Our best attempts didn’t actually make it do anything. 😦

Here's the card that Ralph and Vanellope sign in advance (since Ralph's hands mean he can't do autographs).

Here’s the card that Ralph and Vanellope sign in advance (since Ralph’s hands mean he can’t do autographs).

To pass the time, I gave D the camera. Not a bad shot really.

To pass the time, I gave D the camera. Not a bad shot really.

AACK!  Not to panic anyone but CYBUG ALERT!

AACK! Not to panic anyone but CYBUG ALERT!

Because I'm the type of person who has to be in the shot too. XD

Because I’m the type of person who has to be in the shot too. XD (D said: “Wow. Vanellope’s really BIG.” LOL.)

Then we hung around, played a few of the little games in there (you know, “What character are you?” and “Colour the picture”, those ones) until they let us into the Animation Academy.  We got to choose between drawing the Genie and Dopey; I would’ve done the Genie if I’d been by myself, but D preferred Dopey and I could tell it would be easier for her.  Plus I was outvoted anyway, as everyone else wanted to do Dopey too. 😉 Mine came out pretty well – considering I haven’t done any drawing in about a year. D’s picture… well… the problem was that she was trying very hard to follow the instructions but they just threw her off.  So she’d start at the point where the animator would say to start, but not end where she was supposed to, so everything is off.  I think she’d have done a better job just trying to copy it herself instead of following his instructions.  However, I’m not saying it’s a BAD try for a 7-year-old, in fact I think it’s really good! Only that she got turned around on placement because she was trying to do it two different ways.

This was taken at home. Purple walls = D's bedroom.

This was taken at home. Purple walls = D’s bedroom.

As it was getting on towards 1:00 we decided to hit up the Muppets and then get lunch at Toy Story Pizza Palace.  Back through wherever we went yet again, passing this window which D utterly loved:

D thought this was hilarious.  She was like "LOOK at the face he's making!!"

D thought this was hilarious. She was like “LOOK at the face he’s making!!”

Then we got in line for Muppets, and I was surprised to find that there was a LINE.  Outside!  This NEVER HAPPENS.  I figured the timing must have been just awkward or something so we settled in to wait.  I got a chance to look at details I normally don’t see, like the fact that there are eyes EVERYWHERE…

The posts are watching you too.

The posts are watching you too.

But unfortunately after a few minutes we were told that MuppetVision was down and they needed some time to fix it. 😦  No idea what went wrong (maybe the Chef shot something with that cannon that he shouldn’t have?), but we just gave in and headed to Pizza Planet for lunch.

Trip Report 2013: Day 2, We Made It!

Day 2 – 10/1/2013

D and I awoke early. We didn’t really mean to, and I had the alarm set for 6am but we were both up by 5:30. Sometimes it just happens. I guess we were like that Disney World ad, “We’re too excited to sleep!” Orrrr maybe it was just not a comfortable room. ;P

Ready and waiting to go in her 3 Caballeros shirt!

Ready and waiting to go in her 3 Caballeros shirt!

Anyway, I let D watch some TV while we were getting everything together, and I made her write a bit in her trip journal. (The trip journal was sadly neglected for the rest of the trip, really.)  She found a little Phineas and Ferb and we watched that while I packed things up and took them out to the car. It was still dark outside even after we’d picked up breakfast in the lobby and were heading out back onto the road again.

There’s a movie D took as the sun was coming up, but I am not going to share it, because it’s long and not much happens in it. However, it’s full of me saying a lot of things like “Full tank of gas, the road ahead of us, and Disney World at the end of it!” and “Palm trees… warm sand… Though sadly we just left Rhode Island! AH I made a Muppets reference!”

It didn’t take too long for the sun to come up, and initially it looked pretty promising that we’d make my schedule and get there around 9:30 as I’d planned! Sadly… fate had other plans in store. We ran into a couple of traffic jams… nothing major at first… but right after getting onto I-4 we hit a HUGE backup. There were warnings on the signs, but I didn’t know any alternate routes, so I just stuck with it. It took us about 40 minutes extra to get through it. 😛

Not her most "I'm thrilled to be here!" face.

Not her most “I’m thrilled to be here!” face.

So, instead of checking in at Ft. Wilderness at 9:30 and getting to Hollywood Studios by 10am, we got to Ft. Wilderness around 10:20 and made it to Hollywood Studios by 10:45. This meant that the tram was a necessity (normally when I drive I like to get there at park opening so I can walk to the entrance, but you do what you can). We JUST missed a tram so D went into her first “I HATE WAITING” response of the trip and schlumped around bored waiting for the next tram. The PARKING TRAM. Sigh.  Sometimes I thought it was going to be a loooong trip. 😉 Fortunately, spoiler alert! The crowds were REALLY low and we had FastPasses for the stuff we most wanted to do, so we were barely in long lines at all!

Anyway once we got onto the tram and I prodded her a little bit about the face she was making, she perked up. 🙂

That's my girl!

That’s my girl!

Then I treated the tram ride like an attraction and took pictures of some of the mini-billboards they had up to advertise their shows and movies. At this point, I had really intended to take a million billion photos and I set off on that goal with a vengeance.

Planes. For some reason I actually took two pics of this. I guess because we were sitting in front of it for a while.

Planes. For some reason I actually took two pics of this. I guess because we were sitting in front of it for a while.

Is there anyone on my Twitter list who doesn't like this show? Seriously, I can't even go on Twitter on Sunday nights without spoilers. ;)

Is there anyone on my Twitter list who doesn’t like this show? Seriously, I can’t even go on Twitter on Sunday nights without spoilers. 😉

I took this because I liked the picture. I have NO idea what this show is.

I took this because I liked the picture. I have NO idea what this show is.

Outside of the entrance of Hollywood Studios, they have a Monsters University topiary. There was even a LINE to stand right in front and get your picture taken, which I found funny. Polite, but funny. LOL. I just snagged a couple of pics of the front, and then when we went around to the other side there were topiary representations of the various frat houses in MU. I told D to pick her favourite and stand in front of it; somehow it doesn’t surprise me that she picked PNK, the girly-girl sorority. ;D

Really cool tope, but I wouldn't stand in line for a photo opp.

Really cool tope, but I wouldn’t stand in line for a photo opp.

PNK forever!

PNK forever!

Once we got inside, I started my traditional photo blast of the … well… the entire park, really. I LOVE the design of HS.

And people talk about loving Main Street USA. BAH! I say to them. BAH!!

And people talk about loving Main Street USA. BAH! I say to them. BAH!!

017

019

I’m on the fence about the Sorceror Hat, really. I actually like it and think it’s a cool design, but using it just for pin trading etc feels like a waste, and the location sucks. I don’t like it blocking Graumann’s Theater. It just feels dumped into what was initially a really thought-out designed area.

Doesn’t stop me from getting our pics taken in front of it though! 😀

I personally think the PhotoPass photographer could've tried a little harder with this one even if he was using my camera.

I personally think the PhotoPass photographer could’ve tried a little harder with this one even if he was using my camera.

I took this one. I like it! :D

I took this one. I like it! 😀

Why, precisely, I feel a need to take pictures of the DHS wait time board is beyond me. Not only that, I have done it before… And ONLY in DHS. None of the other parks.

To satisfy your curiosity here is what the wait times were at 11am on October 1, 2013. WOW!

To satisfy your curiosity here is what the wait times were at 11am on October 1, 2013. WOW!

Anyhoo, once I’d stopped gawking at everything (plus squealing to D “We’re here! I can’t believe we’re here!” because I do that), we moseyed over to Toy Story Mania to get FastPasses. I was hoping they wouldn’t be entirely out of them at 11 in the morning, and I was lucky, they still had some! …For 6pm. Like seriously. That was actually a perfectly good return time for us, though, as it gave us a chance to catch up a bit for our late start and not worry about slotting TSM into the mid-afternoon.

Next on the list was Star Tours, but I didn’t intend to rush through the park for it (HS is sort of the only park where I feel like there are few enough attractions that we can get our must-dos done and still have time to wander). We headed off – without a map, maps are for sissies – OK, I’m lying, I did need it a few times but I like to think of myself as knowing DHS reasonably well and mostly I did fine – and D wanted to stop and see Woody or Buzz. I said we’d come back later, but we did run into a few green army guys! D was under the impression that they were my husband’s favourite b/c they were the only character he was particularly interested in getting a picture with last trip so she made sure to get several pics “for Daddy”.

You can see she's a little bit shy - she told me she was "shy" with any character she "didn't already know".

You can see she’s a little bit shy – she told me she was “shy” with any character she “didn’t already know”.

I love that you can just run into these guys wandering around in Pixar Place.

I love that you can just run into these guys wandering around in Pixar Place.

Then we just kept going… I was NOT taking the most direct route to Echo Lake, and I knew it, but I figured who cared? We were heading towards the Streets of America, I think, and that’s my least familiar area of the park. For instance I don’t think I’d ever seen these mist-structures:

Just like her mother!  Running at a giant Coke bottle with open arms! :P (Disclaimer: D doesn't drink soda, she hates it. she just likes things that spray water.)

Just like her mother! Running at a giant Coke bottle with open arms! 😛 (Disclaimer: D doesn’t drink soda, she hates it. she just likes things that spray water.)

I kept trying to get a shot of it spraying mist. Never did come out right.

I kept trying to get a shot of it spraying mist. Never did come out right.

She's waiting for the fire truck to shoot mist out... She looks like she's a little terrified. XD

She’s waiting for the fire truck to shoot mist out… She looks like she’s a little terrified. XD

And my Splash fountain! I got a pic back in 2008. I need to buy this movie. Actually I was being adorable with my pose, but you can’t tell b/c D didn’t frame it the way I thought she would. Oh well. XD (Yes, you heard me. I’m blaming it on a 7-year-old.)

Seriously, I was all rocking this adorable post... oh whatever. :P

Seriously, I was all rocking this adorable post… oh whatever. 😛

It's SAN FRANCISCO TIME, PEOPLE!!

It’s SAN FRANCISCO TIME, PEOPLE!!

This is the tallest hill in the WORLD!

This is the tallest hill in the WORLD!

And yes, they are putting the Osborne Lights up at HS already.

And yes, they are putting the Osborne Lights up at HS already.

This is as close as I've ever come to seeing the Osborne Lights.

This is as close as I’ve ever come to seeing the Osborne Lights.

D's entire understanding of phone booths is that Superman changes clothes in them.

D’s entire understanding of phone booths is that Superman changes clothes in them.

They play all these "city sounds" in Streets of America, so I was like "NO, don't run! WATCH OUT FOR THAT BUS!!"

They play all these “city sounds” in Streets of America, so I was like “NO, don’t run! WATCH OUT FOR THAT BUS!!”

Coast to coast!  Now we're in NYC!

Coast to coast! Now we’re in NYC!

Stylish little mannequin!

Stylish little mannequin!

I am *really* glad we took our time through the Streets of America, because I had a great time taking pics and it was shortly after this that I got a “low battery” alert on my camera. And… I had not brought my camera charger. I KNOW, RIGHT?? That was possibly my biggest planning hole. 😦 We had D’s camera and that ran out of batteries before mine did. (And no, I don’t have a camera in my phone, before you ask.) So while I fully intended to just go nuts with the pics, this is the nutsiest I got. But it was pretty nutsy, what can I say? So it’s OK. 🙂

Trip Report 2013: Day 1, Part 2 – South of the Border!

Here’s the second half of our “travel day” going to WDW.  This was still Monday, 9/30.

So we stopped at South of the Border, just over the border in South Carolina – this was approximately our halfway point and we got there right around 1pm or so. We ate lunch (sandwiches my husband had made us; D finished hers and this was almost the only time all trip that she did), gassed up the car, and walked around. I was dismayed that they do not sell any kinds of sodas except Pepsi products, because I am a Diet Coke gal. WHY DO PLACES DO THIS?!

But we walked around and entertained ourselves with photo opportunities. One thing about D is that she loves to climb on things. If there is something nearby that she can climb on, it’s like she has an uncontrollable need to get up on it. I was constantly pulling her down off of lampposts the entire trip. But the giant animals were fine to climb on, and she was all over them.

I love how she really should clash, but she kind of doesn't.

I love how she really should clash, but she kind of doesn’t.

Why who's that hot mamma? :P Actually this is a REALLY good pic of me as they go. Take from that what you will.

Why who’s that hot mamma? 😛 Actually this is a REALLY good pic of me as they go. Take from that what you will.

OH NOES!!!!

OH NOES!!!!

OH NOES AGAIN!!!!

OH NOES AGAIN!!!!

LOL flamingo.

LOL flamingo.

And then she's like "I'll just ride this gator to Disney."

And then she’s like “I’ll just ride this gator to Disney.”

D wore her Magic Band the entire time, from the moment I showed it to her. Even though we wouldn't use it for two days.

D wore her Magic Band the entire time, from the moment I showed it to her. Even though we wouldn’t use it for two days.

OK so there was some trouble getting up onto this dino...

OK so there was some trouble getting up onto this dino…

Tried walking up the tail...

Tried walking up the tail…

Then climbing up with more arms but it just wasn't happening.

Then climbing up with more arms but it just wasn’t happening.

In the end I did have to lift her up...

In the end I did have to lift her up…

And then we were fine. :D

And then we were fine. 😀

She also loves to name things and claim them as her pets, as seen in this movie.

Then we kept on walking around a bit more.  We didn’t touch on NEARLY everything that is at SotB… we don’t do any of the attractions b/c we want to get back on the road (it’s five hours to get there for us, and another 6-7 more to get to WDW).  But we do look at the stuff outside!

The best part is that as I recall, this face she's making is coincidental.

The best part is that as I recall, this face she’s making is coincidental.

Small girl, big cactus.

Small girl, big cactus.

"OH! This MUST be Chewandswallow!" said D at the sight of this restaurant.

“OH! This MUST be Chewandswallow!” said D at the sight of this restaurant.

Look at that sky!

Look at that sky!

We love Canada, y'see.

We love Canada, y’see.

Even when Canada has broken antlers, we loves it, precious. <3

Even when Canada has broken antlers, we loves it, precious. ❤

I could not get up on the dinosaurs easily, either.

I could not get up on the dinosaurs easily, either.

D found a Jackalope. With a  saddle and everything!

D found a Jackalope. With a saddle and everything!

"I'll ride this lion to Disney!" she said, and then I pointed out that the lion's feet are buried in the dirt so I don't think he's going anywhere.

“I’ll ride this lion to Disney!” she said, and then I pointed out that the lion’s feet are buried in the dirt so I don’t think he’s going anywhere.

Hanging on for dear life!

Hanging on for dear life!

Sometimes you just can't ride on everything.

Sometimes you just can’t ride on everything.

D loves giraffes.  See what you miss when you don't stop at SotB?

D loves giraffes. See what you miss when you don’t stop at SotB?

She had names for each one, based on their colours.

She had names for each one, based on their colours.

Now I finally got her into posing!

Now I finally got her into posing!

This is why I say you’ve got to stop here. It’s not nearly as good as Disney but it’s a fun diversion. We always have a good time. 🙂 Actually we stayed for about an hour, which I kind of regretted afterwards, but oh well. It was a fun time. 🙂 They have a bajillion hats! Have I mentioned I LOVE hats?

My favourite cowgirl!

My favourite cowgirl!

Queen R!  I'm telling ya!

Queen R! I’m telling ya!

This is b/c I told her that she looked bored in her last photo. ;)

This is b/c I told her that she looked bored in her last photo. 😉

Me trying to look interesting. XD

Me trying to look interesting. XD

Slightly drunk looking perhaps.

Slightly drunk looking perhaps.

Sombrero!

Sombrero!

and this is just kind of... Wonderland?

and this is just kind of… Wonderland?

D loves maracas!

D loves maracas!

Then I found this completely awesome hat and was like "D!! LOOK AT THIS!" but she was gone so it was mirror-time again. :P

Then I found this completely awesome hat and was like “D!! LOOK AT THIS!” but she was gone so it was mirror-time again. 😛

D is the family dinosaur expert, which inspired an argument between us as to what kind of dino this was. I said Velociraptor and she said T-Rex.

D is the family dinosaur expert, which inspired an argument between us as to what kind of dino this was. I said Velociraptor and she said T-Rex.

They had this area with like four coin-operated cars. D had to sit in all four even though we didn't actually ride any.

They had this area with like four coin-operated cars. D had to sit in all four even though we didn’t actually ride any.

Anyhow, we were back on the road around 2pm, and we stopped once more towards the end of SC, then again for dinner at the bottom of Georgia. At this point things got crazy because I kept having trouble finding a place to eat. I decided on a Cracker Barrel, but when I got off at the exit, I couldn’t find it. It turned out to be off the main road behind a hotel or something, but I felt like it was too complicated to get there, so we got back onto I-95. I resumed driving, and perhaps 10 miles later we picked out a Denny’s and I exited again. This time I managed to accidentally pass the Denny’s because I was supposed to go straight off at the exit instead of turning. I figured that was OK since there were other options this time. I saw a sign for Shoney’s and went towards that, only to find out it was closed. Then I saw another Cracker Barrel but it was, again, tough to get into. So I finally just made a U-turn and managed to get into Denny’s.

I know, I know: what was the point of that story? 🙂 I guess just to illustrate how easily I can get turned around sometimes, when I’m faced with a few too many choices and no single, straightforward option. Well, Denny’s was just fine; I had a chicken fingers platter, and D had chicken nuggets. Shaped like stars. 🙂

I kind of want to eat that right now.

I kind of want to eat that right now.

She initially was after the macaroni and cheese, but I promised she’d have plenty of that at WDW. She liked the chicken nuggets, in the end.

Well, we listened to a lot of music – most of it Disney, with a few other options tossed in (like Dean Martin and Michael Jackson, because I have weirdly eclectic tastes) – and talked a lot, and played our favourite car games of 20 Questions and the Disney ABC game, where you have to name characters whose names start with each letter of the alphabet. We have an ongoing confusion as to whether anyone’s name starts with a V. Is there a Victor in the Disney canon anywhere? The other problem with this game is that it’s easy to get stuck on particular characters, like B is always either Baloo or Boo, and Y is always Yzma. And I is always Ichabod Crane. I honestly can’t remember if anyone else’s name starts with I at all. This is what the internet is for, yet I have yet to look this up.

Anyway, by this point it was dark, and for some reason when I drive in the dark I’m not capable of driving above the speed limit, so it took us a little while to do the final leg of the journey. Our hotel was in Jacksonville, near the airport, and it took another 30-45 minutes or so to get there. It had started raining off and on but not heavily, and we got to the hotel in good time. We never actually saw it in the light, though, so I can’t tell you what it looked like! It had some kind of pond but that was all I could see. The room was TINY. Barely enough room for the one bed in it. We got in and I called home to check in while D wrote in her travel journal (this was the first, and last time she did so) about the day. Then I took a shower while D watched TV: “Teen Beach Movie” on the Disney Channel. I can tell you one thing: the little bit of it that I saw had the most incomprehensible plot EVER. XD D seemed entertained by it. Of course it’s like 9:30 and she’s showing no sign of being tired, because once she reaches that point of sleepiness she is suddenly past sleepy and straight into wired. After I got out of the shower I loaded my pictures onto the computer – I had planned to do this at least every couple of days to keep space on the camera – and checked in on Facebook.

We both had a really rough time sleeping. The air conditioner cut off and on every few minutes all night and it woke me each time, plus D is a messy sleeper. By which I mean she flails. A lot. She always has. She was hot and flipped over every few minutes, and I think it was after 11pm before I finally fell asleep – after she did, at least.

Day 2 coming up soon! Things actually get more exciting at that point. 🙂

Trip Report 2013: Day 1

The first day of our trip was our travel day.  I set the alarm for 5 am and woke up D shortly afterwards.

I grabbed her clothes and left her to get dressed while I packed her things, then gave her some books, her toothbrush and toothpaste, and her Advair dispenser, and a backpack to put them in.  Then I finished up our packing, my husband got some food ready, and we basically rushed around getting things together.  That night I found out that D had NOT packed her toothbrush or her Advair. (Fortunately she didn’t need it!  She doesn’t get asthma attacks, her chest just tightens up, but it’s usually triggered by colder weather/allergies.  She did fine in FL, thank heaven. This was one of several things though that made me feel like a lousy Mom. :P)

I made some really awesome egg and cheese breakfast sandwiches on English muffins, and some blackberry muffins (well, made those the night before, I didn’t whip up muffins at 5am), and I also bought donuts the night before and put these together:

See, it's a hidden Mickey. I made Mickey donuts! :D

See, it’s a hidden Mickey. I made Mickey donuts! 😀

Turns out I need not have bothered, because D did not finish a single one of these. She ate half the sandwich, half a muffin (I brought six! throughout the week she never had another!), and three bites of one of the three donuts I brought.  Siiiigh.  We brought back the food that lasted, but I hate thinking of how much I had to toss out.  Oh well!

Anyway, it was still dark when we set out. The actual departure was awesome because I put on the first volume of the Disney Classics CD, and we pulled out and left to the strains of “The Circle of Life”.  It was inspirational. 😀  We made pretty good time, and although the first 2 hours or so were filled with some “How long until we’re in Florida?” and “are we nearly in Florida yet?”, after a while D decided she was going to pass the time by counting to 1,000.  She made it to 350 before she got distracted and forgot that goal, but somehow that activity miraculously cured her of her boredom, and after that we had a great time.  We listened to music, played car games, and she worked in a “Magic Ink” book I had bought her… well, when she wasn’t carsick, that is.

She also took a lot of photos on my camera.

Trees...

Trees…

Sky...

Sky…

Thumb/road...

Thumb/road…

Selfie...

Selfie…

Car window...

Car window…

I love this one :D

I love this one 😀

And this is honestly like 1/3 of the pics she actually took. Yeah.

And this is honestly like 1/3 of the pics she actually took. Yeah.

My goal was to stop about every 3 hours or so unless there was a bathroom emergency. Our first stop was slightly later than I intended it to be, and we took a while – long story short, D had a lingering fear of toilets that flush by themselves.  She’s used them before but not often and they still make her nervous, so I had to talk her through our first stop. The good side is, this trip finally got her over that fear. THANK GOODNESS.  So I ended up checking in with my husband later than I had meant.  He was intending to go out with our son for the day and I called him about 45 minutes later than I’d said I would 😛  I felt bad but he sounded OK once I actually called.  By this point D already had plenty to tell him, just in general, so it took a little while to get going again.  Then it was more car games and more carsickness, and more photos.  Our second stop was South of the Border, because I am convinced that if you are driving down I-95 and your route passes SotB, you have to stop there.

One of many, many South of the Border signs you may see on your trip.

One of many, many South of the Border signs you may see on your trip.

Another SotB sign.

Another SotB sign.

HEY!  Does that say "HATS"?!  You've GOT me, baby!

HEY! Does that say “HATS”?! You’ve GOT me, baby!

And now there is no escape.  TOURIST TRAP!

And now there is no escape. TOURIST TRAP!

I’ll be back later with the rest of Day 1! Don’t want to overwhelm with excitement right away, amirite? 😛