The day started with ominous promises of winter storm warnings, lake effect snow, and freezing rain. But because we’re tough Lakeshore Michiganders (yeah, that’s only the western Lakeshore, people. Ain’t no lake effect snow coming off Lake St Clair, nuh uh), we were unfazed by the hysterical predictions of icy mayhem and frozen carnage. When we want fake stuff, we come here for the polished Disney fake hype that we pay for, not the chicken-little-death-toll-stands-at-zero-damn-you-snow Wood TV sensationalism crap we could get for free.
When we last spoke, we had returned to the hotel and Leah was sleeping. She had to be awakened shortly thereafter to head for a dinner engagement, and this is what she looked like shortly before rising:
We headed over to Fort Wilderness and hopped on a bus to head back to Pioneer Hall for the Hoop Dee Doo Revue dinner show starting at 4pm. We only waited a few minutes for the doors to open and we were seated at a table in the second row from the stage, which was a great location for Lele. We had no idea how she’d react to the raucous song & dance show, but we figured with corn and fried chicken on the menu, she’d probably be fine. Aly was hoping to get picked for the finale and join the cast, but I warned her that she wasn’t likely to get picked, even with only 20 or so tables filled of the hundred-plus in the room.
The power of the breakfast burrito
Like the idiots that we are, we scheduled a character breakfast at 8:05 am this morning at Hollywood & Vine inside Disney’s Hollywood Studios (which we still refer to as MGM). Since the girls went to bed somewhat early last night, it actually wasn’t too bad getting everyone up and out on time for the quick drive over to DHS in our red Dodge Grand Caravan rental car. At the Grand Rapids airport yesterday shortly after parking our car in the parking deck, Aly asked me “Is someone going to be renting our car while we are renting a car in Florida?” – priceless.
This has really been a tale of two trips – the parts where Aly has “been a shit”, as my mom used to say about me with some regularity – sorry mom, but it’s true, you did say that about me a lot, and I’m sure deservedly; and the parts where we’ve been able to have fun as a family, where Aly has had lots of fun.
This was our second trip on AirTran, after our trip out east this summer. We upgraded to business class both ways when we checked in online for our flights, and it was worth every penny. We picked the first row on both flights, and it worked out great to have the extra room for Leah, and the endless animal crackers for Aly. The crews on both flights were polite, friendly, and engaging, which is a nice departure from what we had been accustomed to flying NWA and Delta over the years. Aly got to spend quite a while in the cockpit on both ends of the southbound leg, and another good chunk of time in the cockpit upon our return to GRR. The pilots were great with her in both instances, and she absolutely loved it – can’t say enough good things about AirTran at this point. 10/10 for air travel.
We all hit the sack pretty early last night, and Leah once again decided she couldn’t wait to spend more time with her parents, so she and I wandered out before 7am. We started by taking the elevator up to the 15th floor of Bay Lake Tower and taking in the pre-sunrise views of Magic Kingdom, the Contemporary, and Bay Lake. We then headed down to the fifth floor to take the skybridge across to the Contemporary proper, so I could see out some breakfast. The Contempo Cafe wasn’t open yet, so Leah and wandered over to the bar outside Chef Mickey’s and hung out for a while.
Once Contempo opened, we ordered my breakfast on the touch screen (Mickey Waffle with Banana Caramel Syrup, turkey sausage, bacon) and got her some apple slices to chew into little pieces and then spit out – she’s like one of those mincing gizmos. Waffle good, bacon good, turkey sausage, um, well, there’s a reason that sausage is supposed to come from pigs and not turkeys, let’s just leave it at that. Even my caramel syrup couldn’t make that taste good. After I ate my breakfast and Leah finished decorating the carpet with minced apples, we headed back over to the BLT and went outside to visit the pool area. It seemed like a pretty cool pool area, great slide, and a large padded splash area for kids and babies, with fountains and other spraying thingies. We also walked the jogging path around the hotel and then headed back up to wake up the other two.
Leah, as part of her campaign for 2011 Goudie Baby of the Year, blessed us by sleeping until 7:30, which meant I didn’t have to freeze my arse off taking her around the Boardwalk this morning – it was 38 degrees or some such silliness. We got all our stuff packed up and I took our luggage to the car while the girls checked me out (of the hotel, you lechers) and then I met them at Kouzzina for breakfast.
Once Leah woke up from her afternoon nap, we got our stuff together and headed out to the Magic Kingdom. There are windows about halfway down the hallway toward the elevator, and I stopped dead in my tracks, because the 82-degree sunny day we had left outside a few hours back had been replaced by sideways rain. And a lot of it. I muttered “Oh shit” a couple times under my breath and hoped Aly didn’t hear me. We decided to press on and Aly and I pulled on our rain ponchos to go retrieve the car and pick up Rachel, Leah and the stroller.
I invited Aly to sit in the passenger seat while we drove through the parking lot over to the driveway, and when we parked, she said “Dad, since we’re on vacation, can I just stay up here?” How can you argue with that? Laws be damned, we’re on vacation, people. So I had pink-ponchoed 45″ blonde riding next to me in the passenger seat.
Once again, Leah wanted to get up early, so I took her out for a spin around the Boardwalk in the early hours this morning, but this time, I brought my real camera and got some good shots across the lake. We hit the Boardwalk Bakery for a chocolate chip muffin (sorry, gluten-free Leah!), checked out the Christmas decorations inside the Beach Club, and continued around to the Yacht Club, where Leah watched their train for a while. Crossing back over to the BW side, we saw them setting up the satellite uplink trucks and security perimeters at the Atlantic Dance Hall for the College Football Awards show, which is here tomorrow night. Denard, swing by and see me if you’re town baby!