Thursday, June 18, 2009

Magic Kingdom

The first thing to strike me when I enter the Magic Kingdom is the size of Cinderella’s castle. California’s Sleeping Beauty castle is dwarfed by it! The whole park is very much more spread out however the attractions are very similar. The major differences in attractions is what FL has that CA doesn’t…..anymore. They still have Country Bear Jamboree, Carousel of Progress, Tomorrowland Transit Authority or Peoplemover to us Californians and Tom Sawyer Island. For those of us who remember these lost treasures it’s a refreshing taste of childhood that we don’t see anymore at Disneyland. Then there’s the stuff they have we never did have in CA. Mickey’s PhilharMagic is a fabulous 3-D show, Hall of Presidents is like Great Moments with Mr. Linclon on steroids, and Stitch’s Great Escape. We, here in CA, also have stuff they don’t have in FL, such as Matterhorn, which is not in any park in WDW!! We also have Indiana Jones and the Temple of the Forbidden Eye which is one of the best rides in the Park! AND we have the one and only original Enchanted Tiki Room!!! FL completely ruined theirs with Zazu and Iago screeching and rapping through the whole thing. My nephew actually cried!!! There Haunted Mansion is prettier and so is their Pirates but not necessarily better. Liberty Square and New Orleans Square are very different and both are a nice place to get good food and relax in a soothing blend of architecture. So, if you would have asked me in 1989 I would have said Disneyland is the winner but there have been so many changes in both that a visit to each Magic Kingdom on both coasts is warranted if you can afford to!! Little known fact about Magic Kingdom in FL is that you can get a great haircut on Main Street!! If it’s your child’s first haircut they’ll receive some mouse ears fully embroidered and a certificate. For anyone…..all the glitter you want!!

Animal Kingdom

Animal Kingdom is most definitely a Disneyfied Zoo but to me that’s all it is. It is the hottest of all the parks temperature-wise having very little shade and even less of a breeze. It’s the park to be missed if you’re going to miss one, in my opinion. But then we are full of zoos and botanical parks in SoCA. The only true highlight of this park for me was the DinoLand USA area!! They have an attraction comparable to Mulholland Madness in Disney’s California Adventure called Primeval Whirl. SO MUCH FUN!!! The difference is that the cars spin as it goes on the track and MM does not. Big difference!

The last time I was there Expedition: Everest was closed so I have not been on that one. Some have said that this is Matterhorn but if you ask an Imagineer, Everest is a completely different mountain and the track is similar to Disneyland's Indiana Jones and the Temple of hte Forbidden Eye. Oh, they will also say it is a Yeti on the attraction and not the Abominable Smowman. Umm, aren’t they the same thing?

Walt Disney World Resorts

I've had some people asking me questions about Walt Disney World. I recently posted comments on another blog and decided to post them here. There is so much to say about this incredible and truly magical place! These posts however are short and don't go into detail. If anyone has any questions please feel free to ask and I'll be happy to answer!!

"While I love Disneyland, if you’re comparing the resorts themselves then it’s WDW all the way, hands down, make no mistake about it, waaaaaaayy better! WDW is comprised of four theme parks, two water parks and over 23 resort hotels. Disneyland Resort is comprised of two theme parks and three resort hotels. ‘Nuff said?

If you’re going to compare WDW’s Magic Kingdom and Disneyland Resort’s Disneyland, Downtown Disney in either CA or FL, and Disney’s Hollywood Studios and Disney’s California Adventure respectively then that is where the ONLY comparisons can be made. Even then there really is not much that is comparable. We’ll start with Downtown. Florida’s is a village of shopping and California’s is a promenade. Florida’s includes Disney Quest Indoor Interactive Theme Park. 5 floors of every video game you could imagine and some you will have never even dreamed of. You can climb into a pirate ship and fight pirates on a giant surrounding screen and go whitewater rafting with a boat and paddles. You can even build your own roller coaster and ride in it! Then there’s La Nouba the only permanent Cirque du Soleil venue the east side of the Mississippi. California’s has some shopping and some dining. If my fellow California natives don’t hate me then follow along……"


EPCOT is the most unique of the parks and CA does not have one to compare. Future World has some interesting pavilions as Disney calls them but the very best part of the whole entire Future World is Mission: SPACE! There is no ride like it in any of the other parks on either coast. It is the must see of Future World!! Spaceship Earth is a good attraction and Universe of Energy is pretty funny. However, with Christian Creationists like myself and our gracious hostess of FD2DAB the evolution theory should just have had no part in the attraction. Test Track left me with a “Huh?” reaction and was not worth the 1 and 1/2 hour wait. It’s like riding Mr. Toad with a quick burst of speed at the end. The Land is a good place to get food and learn about hydroponics.

World Showcase should have been a stand alone theme park! You can spend days in it’s wonder!! As a Norwegian I must point out that it wasn’t listed in the blog! But Norway has THE friendliest people, unlike France. The cast members in each country are actually on a work program from that country. So when you go to Morocco they are all Moroccans. This can lead to some language barriers but it also adds to the feeling of being in another country. That said, these representations are of the smaller villages and areas so if you do ever visit these real countries, it might not be what you saw at WDW, however they are fairly authentic. Insider tip: When visiting EPCOT most people start at the front so start at the back and work your way forward.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

A Day in the Life of Us

Preface: I started this post last Tuesday night. I finished it this morning but somehow my computer didn't save after I clicked save and I had to start the last half over again. So it's a few days late but after you read it you may understand why. I know I can't be the only one! Please share with me your day to day!!

I have insomnia. I go for a couple of weeks without much sleep and then I sleep, really super hard for two weeks at the most. Right now I'm in a super hard sleep week. In the wee hours of the morning I hear the screams and I can't move. Dave wakes up and sits there so I tell him it's Brody. He gets up and runs to our son while I still can't move and I'm seeing strange patterns in my vision. I never heard Dave come back and I never heard the alarm go off four times. I never made Dave his breakfast, poor guy. But I had to wake up when the baby was plopped into bed with me and I got a kiss good-bye from Dave. Rhys slides off the bed and heads for the bathroom. He emerges with his tongue sticking out, Dave's deodorant in one hand and my toothbrush in the other. He has licked the deodorant and decides to brush his teeth with my toothbrush. I take it all away and wipe his mouth out. Rhys wants breakfast.......right now. So I go downstairs and make us a nice healthy one consisting of vanilla yogurt with granola and blueberries. Rhys and I go back upstairs and Brody wakes up much later than usual after his night of nightmares and cuddling with Daddy. He wants to play a video game.........right now. So I set the timer for ten minutes, being too tired for arguing, and turn on "the racing game." I decide to call my brother while the boys are occupied because I told him I'd call him yesterday. We talk for a little bit and Brody decides that this course is too hard, and no I don't want the motorcycle and Rhys "stop touching the control because you're going to mess me up." I just get him going and happy when the timer goes off. I'm still talking on the phone and turn everything off which sets Brody to screaming. Still trying to have some kind of a conversation I tell him to cry in his room if he's going to be that loud but he refuses and screams all the more. He gets a scolding from me and then lays on the floor. So Rhys decides to climb and step on him which sets Brody to screaming. I pull Rhys off and he tries to be more careful which makes Brody happy for about two seconds. Rhys decides that it's too boring to be gentle and sits on Brody's head. This kind of thing goes on until I hang up and Brody decides that he is ready to eat. We all head downstairs and Brody eats a bagel. I tell him I need to call his grandparents and ask a quick question and he says it's okay he'll be quiet. So I call. But of course he isn't quiet and I try to hurry with my phone call. Brody finishes his bagel and we go into the other room. I make the ultimate mistake of sitting on the floor with them. They decide that they both need me.........right now. And I become swarmed with only two can all that swarming be only two boys?! I am screaming and being violently attacked while my dad listens in helpless at the other end of the phone line. They think this is hilarious and I can't help but laugh. But it's the only laughter for the rest of the day. When I finish my conversation, less hair, more bruises and ten minutes later, I notice that something stinks. "Brody, did you go stinky this morning?" "Yes, Momma." "Did you wipe your buns?" "Ummmmm, no." As I turn around, I notice that Rhys has undressed himself and removed his diaper. Up we go to the bathroom for a bath. A quick one, as we are supposed to meet Dave for lunch. I turn the water on and get Brody ready to get in just as Rhys grabs the pump off of the baby wash bottle and drops the whole thing into the half full tub. (Notice at this point I am still saying half full.) It has turned into a bubble bath which now neither child wants to leave. Too bad. When the bath is over Brody wants to watch his Pooh movie.........right now. Realizing this will keep him out from underfoot as I prepare lunch I turn it on for him. It is now 11:46 and we are supposed to be leaving. It is a cold day so I make Mac and Cheese. Remembering that I need to print a coupon for a book I need before Saturday I get on-line while the water is boiling. Dave sends me an instant message and wants to know why I'm still at home. When I explain the stinky pants he is understanding and asks if I would rather stay home. I have already started our lunch and kept the baby up from his nap and the are expecting to go see Daddy so I press on. I yell to Brody to put on his socks and shoes. Two minutes later he hasn't moved so I tell him again and he argues. I tell him to put his socks and shoes on...........right now. He does. I throw our lunch into a bag and we head out. I try to take a quicker route and I'm so concentrated on how to get to his work that way that it's where I go instead of our pre-arranged meeting place. I'm at a red light at the intersection by his building. But wait! What's this? Dave is crossing the street right in front of me on his way to our meeting place. I scream out the window but he has his iPhone earbuds in his ears. I try a few more times and he looks my way. I quickly clear a spot on the front seat and he runs to get in. As he opens the door and climbs in he accidentally kicks one of Brody's toys out the door and into the street but it rolls under the car out of reach. Brody starts crying and the light turns green. I make my turn and Dave said something that confused me so I pulled into his office parking lot. I asked him which way to go and in my confusion I step on the brake instead of the gas. I pull into a parking spot telling him that I am unsafe to drive at this point and we head toward our dear fountain where we normally eat down the street. But Brody is still crying and begging for Daddy to get his toy. We drive that direction and see his toy rolling all over the place in the face of traffic. Dave makes a u-turn and pulls into a gas station. He gets out and crosses the street in hopes of being able to get the toy. Success!! Now it's too late to get to the fountain so we go back to his office building and park. Brody wants to sit in Daddy's lap so Dave gets him out of his seat. In my haste to leave home I forgot forks and plates. Luckily, I remember before Dave leaves his office so I call him and he grabs a couple of forks. Dave decides he better sit in the back and feed Rhys off the lid of the storage container so he hops in the back of the van and Brody sits in front with me. Dave can't feed himself and Rhys while holding the lid and the fork. Brody is very squirmy and I decide it will be easier if I just feed him instead of cleaning the carpet. So, Dave feeds Rhys, I feed Dave and Brody and myself. Then lunch is over and Dave has to go back inside leaving me to finish feeding Rhys and Brody. Now, I need to run over to Borders and buy Tony Curtis' new book, American Prince. We are going to the Jules Verne Festival on Saturday and Tony Curtis will be there! I park and take the boys in the store. I search where I saw it last with no luck but it's hard to read the titles when Brody is whining at me every 10 seconds that he is ready to go in the elevator. Finally, I say yes and when someone else pushes the button before he gets there he starts to cry. When we do get to the second floor it is completely torn apart and they are rearranging everything. I look for the right section and stumble upon a book called Coraline: A Visual Companion. My friend Shane Prigmore did the character design so I try to see if he's in it but Rhys will not hold still and keeps running away. I chase him down three times and finally get a good hold on his wrist but he decides it will be a good idea if he goes limp. I decide it's not a good idea and a battle of wills ensues. I win but he continues to scream. I give up looking through Coraline (sorry Shane) and continue my search for the section I need. I find it but no American Prince. So I ask a twenty something girl if she knows where I can find Tony Curtis' autobiography. I am shocked and stand there...stunned....staring at her....when she asks, "Who's he? I've never heard of him." Realizing that my reaction was not even close to being hidden I stammer, "I'm sorry, I just can't believe that you've never heard of him." I regain my composure and she looks in the computer for the book. It's downstairs. Off we head to the elevator where Brody is happy because he gets to push the button this time. Holding a writhing Rhys, I find my book! When I go to pay, I sit Rhys on the counter because he's stinkin' heavy. Not a good idea. He finds the can of pencils....and the gift cards.....and the candy. Now Brody is begging for a candy bar, No, now a ball, No. On the way out he just has to play with a ball for a second. We leave and head for the car. Rhys doesn't want to go in the car and makes his body just as straight and stiff as he can. When I finally get us on the road Rhys is screeching and Brody is yelling at him to stop. Fifteen minutes later we get home and I put Rhys' to bed. Brody wants to play his Happy Meal game. We go upstairs and I turn on the computer. The doorbell rings and I run for it because the doorbell is right outside the door of the room where Rhys is sleeping. If I take too long getting to the door and it's the neighbor boys then the younger one will start pounding on the door. I did, it is and he does. They want their ball from my backyard. I go to get their ball and Brody starts crying because I won't let him go outside with me because he doesn't have his shoes on. I throw the ball back over the fence and argue with Brody all the way back upstairs about his shoes. We sit down and I put the laptop on my lap when the doorbell rings again. I take off again but not fast enough because there is now pounding. They need their ball again so I go and throw it back again but this time Brody doesn't argue. Whew! We get settled again and, wait, what's that? Yes, the doorbell again. I go down again and throw the ball over again and go upstairs again and just sit down again, when the baby starts to cry. I get him and while he is playing we make another attempt at the computer. Rhys loves the computer, especially the power button. He pushes it, Brody screams and I restart the computer. This happens a couple of times and the boys decide they need a snack. We all head downstairs and get something to eat. It must be nearly time for Dave to get off work. I glance at the clock and it's 2:30. SIGH It's about this time that I remember it's Date Night and my sister will be bringing her two boys over for us to babysit. I don't remember much between this realization and the time that my sister's family arrived at my house so I'll pick it up from there. Our four boys love each other and have so much fun a very high volume. After my sister and her husband leave and Dave gets home we have dinner. When it's all over and the milk is spilled by the baby and the potatoes are flung and half the dinner is uneaten the boys go play. I clean up and Dave plays with the boys. Finally, it's bedtime and they all get ready for bed. We put Rhys in the guest room so that Dave can paint his room. The three other boys all decide to sleep in Brody's room. There is argument over the nighttime music and where one should sleep and I need more blanket. They finally settle in and we tuck them in for the night.....or at least a few minutes. Dave goes to paint Rhys' room and I start this blog post. First the oldest one come out because the younger one needs a drink of water. I get the water and take it to him. I sit down and a few minutes later the oldest comes out again the complain that the little boys are too loud and he can't hear the The Radio Adventures of Dr. Floyd. I go in and tell the little ones to settle down. Then I try again myself to settle in on the couch. Next the oldest one and the youngest one emerge to complain that the other little one keeps wanting them to move because he doesn't like where he is laying. I go in and settle everyone in again. Next the little one I just settled appears and says he wants the others to move. I offer to let him sleep in my bed and he agrees so I tuck him in there and head for the couch yet again. A few minutes later I hear crying coming from my room. I go in and check on him and he tells me that he needs his shirts. These are his comfort items so I go into Brody's room to get them. I open the door to hear the two boys talking at the same time. The little one is telling the older one a story and the older one is telling him to stop so he can hear Dr. Floyd. I quiet them both, get the shirts and take them to the little one on my bed. He settles in and I drag myself to the couch. But a few minutes later I hear knocking on the front door and go down to let my sister and brother in law in the house. Dave comes out to say hi and says, "They went right down. No one even got up!"