This is going to hurt me more than it’s going to hurt you
One of the all-time lies that parents tell to their kids, right? So it was with that in mind that we booked our flight down to Florida departing GRR at 7:45am – the ultimate double-edged sword. Aly would sleep until ten if allowed, and Leah can easily sleep until 7:30-8, but we knew we’d have to leave for the airport around 5:45am, meaning wakeup time would be around 5am. On the other hand, wheels-down time in Orlando is 10:30am, meaning we hit the resort by noon and get nearly a whole day at the Polynesian or one of the parks. So we booked the flight, mostly because it was Southwest’s only nonstop of the day, and one flight halves the risk of in-flight [kid] breakdowns. But we also knew that starting a day at 5am has an exceptionally high risk of breakdowns throughout the day, from either kid, and possibly even either adult, if enough kid breakdowns occur.
So we arose very early on a rainy and cold January Saturday morning and departed mostly on time, making it to the Grand Rapids airport without any issues. Leah was very excited for the first half of the drive, the switched over to panicked-about-flying mode. Well, to be more accurate, panicked about having to sit in her own seat with her own seatbelt on mode. Yes, this is her fourth trip to DisneyWorld and she’s been to Maine a few times as well, but like her sister, she builds these things up in her mind. Rachel, smartly, had been preparing for this for the last few weeks with a “social story” about a three year-old who had airplane anxiety, and this story laid out the whole process and what to expect. I think this process was designed more to combat our anxiety based on what happened last May as much as to calm Leah, but as you’ll read…
This is going to hurt all of us more than it’s going to hurt you. Aly. Mommy. Even across-the-aisle Daddy. The people in front of you. The people behind you. Probably some other people too. Sorry, people.
It all began so well:
About an hour into the flight, I could retype what I typed in that post last year: the catfighting began, I heard Aly nearly screaming “everyone hates me!” (odd, because she’s typically the world-revolves-around-me arrogant type, but commercial flight apparently does something to her normal oversized sense of self-importance), and it wasn’t until a little while later that Rachel told me what the two girls were whining, yelling and fighting about. You may have already guessed it, it’s that obvious. No, it’s not Aly’s 3DS or the iPad, nor a stuffed animal or a book. Yes, it was the armrest between their seats. Neither one could tolerate the other’s arm to be on the armrest for even a second. Rachel put the fire out repeatedly and it would flare back up over and over, with both girls acting like terrible twos. The bad parent things I said last time around? I thought worse this time, but my fear of CPS will prevent me from putting them in print. Then Leah decided to make it worse.
By somehow unhooking the diaper while still wearing pants and then unleashing a holy terror of pee upon her only planeside pair of pants and her beloved blankie. Uh. Yeah, um, hmm. Hey, we put our swimsuits in our carryons, right? Unfortunately, this solution came in stages, so first Rachel took Leah to the forward restroom, which had a changing station (Southwest FTW!) and got a freshie on along with the swimsuit bottoms. The moment they left for the restroom, that rascal Aly laid her head down and snuggled with the disputed armrest. Back to the seat to remove the partially peed shirt and to put on the swim top (a tank, lol), whereupon Leah thought standing up and covering her head with the superpeed blankie was a good idea:
As you can see, I was full of good ideas as well, which mostly consisted of fuming across the aisle and taking pictures, lol. At least I’m self-aware.
As we walked through the airport, lots of people made comments like “She’s ready for Florida!” which just made us chuckle. We got the girls a smoothie – well, we got the family a smoothie, but it ended up a smoothie for the girls pretty much.
While the three girls waited for our luggage to come out the excitement hatch, I went downstairs to get our ‘vacation car’ from Dollar, telling Aly to use the “look, it’s right there!” bathroom while they waited. We met back up, schlepped the bags out to the garage, picked out a red Grand Caravan and hit the road towards WDW.
You know where there is going, right? We’re just onto 417, the toll road, and Aly announces that she has to pee really, really bad. Ted not very pleased is. We pay exact change to get off at an unmanned exit we’ve never used before and try to make our way across four very busy lanes to turn left towards a 7-Eleven gas station. Aly backtalks to me and gives me a bunch of attitude in the car and I’m once again at the “I’m never again bringing my kids on vacation” point – let me formally apologize to my parents for all the times it must have been like this. It was, right?
Why we’re here
Don’t worry, I’m not getting all existential. The first answer, of course, is just what you expect it to be: it’s us, and it’s DisneyWorld. And, it’s been, like, 4 months or something horrible like that. However, the adorable terror that appeared in our home a few years back known as Leah turns three on January 18, so our “reason” [insert chuckle here] is for Lele’s third birthday.
Polynized at last
We got to the Polynesian shortly after noon on a beautiful Florida day, especially for January, which is not always this warm – mostly sunny, 80, and breezy. We checked into our room, surveyed the accommodations (swanky), and discovered a couple of fun things awaiting us:
At this point, Leah was anxious for other people to join her wearing their swimsuits and head to the pool, so we changed and headed down to the lounge to check out midday snack options, which weren’t quite enough for our famished appetites, so we headed down to Captain Cook’s poolside, got some quick snacks and then Aly hopped into the pool while Leah and I played on the beach. Where was Rachel, you ask? Why, at the coin-operated laundry, of course, dealing with the fallout of the plane-pee incident so that Lele would have blankie available at bedtime time. This is part of Rachel’s MoTY ’14 campaign, so remember that when voting time comes around and you’re punching the hanging chad on your ballot.
Aly had fun with the pool party as usual, playing several games, even taking second place in the musical rings version of musical chairs. She claimed that she won, but was pushed by the boy, and I thought she actually tied him, but it’s probably a good thing they didn’t call it a tie, because they settled ties with Rock-Paper-Scissors and I don’t think she knows how to play that. There goes your vote for Rachel, I suppose. Leah I had fun in the pool, which mostly consisted of her splashing me and bouncing around while holding my hands, then making me take my sunglasses off so she could splash me some more. Fun! Once Aly bailed on the pool party activities, she took her first trip down the pool slide, which travels through the large volcano which sits next to the pool. Unfortunately, it’s a fake Disney constructed volcano that is not heated on the inside, as I discovered on my trip through the slide. It doesn’t heat the pool either, which caused me to use my actual in-person shocked face, not just my usual go-to [shocked face].
By the time we got out of the pool, bathed, and redressed (ah, people were naked! run away!), it was after 4 and it didn’t seem to make sense to go to Animal Kingdom anymore, which was our original, albeit loose, plan for the remaining part of the day. AK is such a big park to walk, and we knew the kids would be tired (see first paragraph if the 1,417 words so far have caused you to forget where we began – I know I’m partway there, but that may be the complimentary cocktails doin’ thar’ thang), so we decided instead to hop on the monorail for a trip into Magic Kingdom instead. But first, we had a stop to make:
For my Midwest friends, did you see this same moon tonight?
We took Monorail Gold around the Seven Seas Lagoon and zipped through security into MK running counter to the exiting 5pm crowd. Winning like a Sheen! The offspring expressed a desire to feed, so we quickly made Fastpass+ character greeting reservations while we walked towards Fantastyland (Now Expanded!).
We made a stop at the teacups on our way to dinner:
Leah freaked out a bit once the ride got rolling, so Rachel didn’t spin it much, which caused Aly to tell me “That was horrible“. As you may have guessed by this point, this did not make me very happy to hear yet more complaining and whining. We headed to grab a light dinner (it wasn’t light, lol) and I sent Rachel and Leah to grab a table while Aly and I waited for the food. When I got the tray of food, I asked Aly to go find them, and she instantly lost her mind, stomped her feet, in a weird tantrumy demandingy pout yelled “I won’t!” and I had a mini-stroke and said “Fine.” and then walked past her and found them myself. Sigh. I did have an awfully tasty slush, which was more fulfilling than my relationship with my children thus far through twelve hours of the day. Iced sugar 1, offspring zero. Got some work to do, kids.
After dinner, it was of course time for Prince Charming’s Regal Carousel. Which I never ride, using the “I’ve gotta take pictures” excuse:
The Fastpass+ pays off
It was 6:25 at this point and we knew that Leah would be fading quickly, but we had FP+ reservations to see “Rapunzel and a visiting princess” at Fairytale Princess Hall at 6:35, which is right next to the carousel. Or the former Snow White ride, for any of you that remember that. Which used to be Mr Toad’s Wild Ride, for any of you that remember that. We’d never used FP+ for a character meet, so we didn’t know what to expect, nor had we been at the new Princess Hall either. We went up to the FP+ entrance and asked if we could sneak in early, hoping to rely on the good looks of our girls to work some magic of their own on the guy at the entrance. It worked and we walked down a hallway, where we waited at a rope for a few minutes before being escorted back to large room where a huge mass of people were waiting and we walked right past them into another room where Leah spotted Snow White and Rapunzel and had this look on her face (it wouldn’t be a keeper quality-wise, but that look…):
And not five seconds later, Rapunzel grabbed her by the hand and led her over to the autograph and picture area. It was frickin’ adorable.
The girls had a great exchange with Rapunzel, though Leah did most of the talking. She barely let Rapunzel get a word in, which had all of us laughing. After the hugs, Snow White came over, grabbed Leah’s hand and led them to the next area!
After getting a hug from Leah, Snow White asked Aly for a hug. And what did Aly give her? Exactly what a girl who thinks she’s a punk teenager would give an older lady asking for a hug: a side hug. Awkward!
At that point, Leah asked to go back to the hotel and “take a nap”, so we started to make our way out of the park. Because we’re crappy parents who reward our children for behaving horribly, we bought them both balloons as we exited, so they’d have them in the hotel to enjoy all week. Aly picked the green Mickey balloon, and Leah picked the foil Mickey/Minnie balloon:
We monorailed back without issue and got back to the room to get Lele ready for bed. While Rachel put her down, Aly and I headed back to the club lounge, where she watched TV while I edited pictures and started working on this post. She kept me updated on the desserts as they brought them out. Chocolate mousse was the clear winner, passion fruit tart was okay, and the banana cake was surprisingly good. We all love the POG juice (Passion fruit, orange, guava), and tonight there was an adult version of it that added pineapple, chardonnay, courvoissier, and some other alcohol. Aly went to bed a while ago, so I’ve been in the lounge finishing this up (current word count: 2225; current image count: 60ish), though I took a quick break to watch Wishes since they dim the lights and pipe in the music from MK. I’m going to join the family in sleep now, because the mongeese will be attacking each other again shortly I’m sure. As Grandma Jan says: more fun tomorrow!