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.
Finding a great parking space, we made the five-minute walk through the parking lot to the main park entrance, only to find a long line of people awaiting early entry into the park to hit the same breakfast we were. It was about a ten-minute wait, but they checked us into the restaurant right there at the main park entrance so we walked right to the restaurant and they seated us immediately. I took my customary first-park-entry-of-the-trip turnstile picture, the annoying parent equivalent of the first day of school getting on the bus picture. We ordered drinks and then Jake from the Neverland Pirates (Yo Ho Ho!) stopped by to say hi. On our trip last December, it took Leah several days to stop crying when characters came near her, but she embraced the concept much more this year.
Finding ways to give Disney more of our money
We’re doing a few new Disney things (read: more money) this trip that we’ve skipped in the past, but felt Aly is old enough to now enjoy:
- Pin trading
- Autograph seeking
- Pressed pennies
We actually printed a 16-page list of all the pressed penny locations last week before we left, and gave Aly a highlighter and told her to pick the top 16 (2 per day) that she wanted to get. She got to work and said “I think I have more than 16” so we told her to count them and we’d tell her how far to narrow it down. She stopped counting at 100. She did eventually manage to whittle it down to 16, and we picked up two of those this morning at DHS – one Elastigirl and one Ferb.
For all of our trips here, we’ve never done the pin trading thing before, but we thought it would give Aly something to distract her from the long miles of walking we do all day here. So we hit the store under the big hat at DHS and let her pick out a lanyard (GFS-approved, no doubt) and a pin starter set. After explaining the social norms of WDW pin trading, we turned her loose as we wandered about the park. She made her first-ever pin trade with a nice lady working the Lightning McQueen/Tow Mater meet ‘n greet. Aly is now completely obsessed with trading pins, and traded probably a dozen times before we left the park. She got one pin from a young boy, and had it for less than ten minutes before trading it away to someone else. It’s fun to watch her go up to complete strangers and politely interact with them, so we can justify this expense as socialization education and confidence-building (is that a tax write-off?).
We got both girls autograph books for this trip, and they’re both having fun collecting autographs so far. At breakfast, we got Jake, Oso, Handy Manny, and June from the Little Einsteins. We also found Phineas & Ferb (Aly’s fave) and Sully & Mike from Monster’s Inc. While waiting in line for the Monster’s Inc guys, Leah had this complete stone face of fear, so we asked her if she wanted to go see them or not. She said her cute little “Yeah” and we asked which one, assuming she’d pick Mike the eyeball. She, however, thought that the teal furry yeti was the choice, so she actually got pretty close to him without a complete freakout.
We’re also continuing my normal WDW habits as Aly and I split a Mickey ice cream bar mid-morning. For those of you who’ve been to Disney with us before, or those of you who have ever eaten lunch with me, you’ll be shocked to hear that neither Aly nor myself got any chocolate or ice cream on ourselves. We also discovered to our delight that the raining umbrella was functional, which has not been the case on our last several trips, so this was the first time we could show it to Leah, who found it entertaining.
We had gotten fastpasses for Toy Story Midway Mania right after breakfast, and they were good for 11:40am, by which time all the fastpasses were gone for the day. We spent some time in the Honey I Shrunk The Kids playground, which mostly consisted of Leah getting herself soaked and riding a giant ant while Aly disappeared into caves and tunnels for ten minutes at a time. We used our fastpasses (after a short wait during which both girls decided that Disney streets are clean enough to sit/lay on – see the last picture below) and climbed board Toy Story with Leah just about at the end of her rope energy-wise – and we tried the ultra-risky move of having Leah ride with me so that Aly could ride with Rachel. Leah actually thought it was quite fun as the cars spun around and we passed “Ah” and “Mama” while shooting rings at Little Green Men and the like. I scored 160,000 points with Leah on my lap, which is pretty darn good, so hopefully my annual performance review will reflect that.
Leah’s napping (and I should be doing the same) while the medium and extra-medium girls are at the pool, but we’ll soon be getting ready for the raucous rowdiness of the Hoop De Doo Revue tonight at Fort Wilderness lodge. We did it when I was a kid, and again a few years ago when Aly was two, so we’re looking forward to doing it again tonight – Aly is hoping she gets picked to join the cast, while Leah is just hoping for corn.