I don't want to turn this blog into all the miserable aspects of being out of my comfort zone, because at the end of the day I'd rather be miserable and on vacation than comfortable at home and still, quite possibly, miserable. But today was almost ruined by the sweltering, high 90's heat. We recovered, but it was touch and go for a while. Keep reading, because we learned from today, so it won't be a complaint-fest. Hopefully.
Animal Kingdom is only open until 7 p.m., so our goal was to get there bright and early to beat the crowds. This is what every tour book ever printed will tell you - go early, get the big name rides done while there are less people in the park and before the sun is beating down on your head like a gigantic laser beam from an alien planet. What the tour books don't know is that we are not bright and early people. We are dull and tardy people. I know that, but for some reason I overlook this fact every single time I plan a vacation. Despite the tenor of some of my more depressing blog posts, I am essentially an optimist, and I tend to plan the best case scenario: waking up, racing to the car to get the day started, everyone full of enthusiasm for what the new day has in store. This doesn't happen at home; why should I expect it to happen when we aren't sleeping in our own beds, skipping meals and naps, and watching hours of the Disney Channel?
Regardless, I did expect to wake up bright and early today, but when the alarm clock went off (I know - alarm clocks on vacation!! I'm a moron!!) Ryan all but begged to be allowed to sleep in, and I was so tired I said yes. We eventually headed out at around 11 a.m., thinking we'd hit the shows and larger-capacity rides (thus shorter lines) and then do the more popular rides in the later afternoon.
Good theory, bad reality. We completely underestimated what the sun would feel like at noon. As soon as we got there we were looking for somewhere to sit out the heat, which is not exactly conducive to standing in lines for 70 minutes or hiking back and forth across the park in search of fast passes. By 12:45, we had taken shelter in a restaurant. I was all for going home for two hours and coming back around 3:00, when early birds would be heading home and the park would be emptier. (Our house is closest to Animal Kingdom, so this was realistic.) Ryan preferred to stay since some fast passes were ready to be used and we could finally do a ride or two. We also rented a stroller for Zack, who was doing more whining than walking, and this proved to be the best investment ever.
This was when things started turning around. We did Kilimanjaro Safari, which was a Jungle Cruise type ride in jeeps instead of a boat, and without the punny narration. I missed the puns, or at least, the attempt at humor. Oh, and it had real live animals instead of fake ones. We took a round-trip ride on a train headed to a petting zoo (we didn't get off). Then we watched The Festival of the Lion King, which was absolutely the best Disney show I've seen. It was part Lion King The Musical and part circus, totally over-the-top and fantastic. When we got out, the parade had ended and the mass exodus had begun. We walked right into the 3D show "It's Tough To Be A Bug" which scared the pants off Darcey. We went to Dinosaur, which Ryan took the boys on while Darcey and I got a snack.
By that time it was 5:30 and the only things left to do were of the roller coaster variety, so I went home with Darcey. We rented two small cars for the same price as one minivan, so we had to take advantage of that flexibility at some point. (Plus, we had to make it worth paying double parking fees every day!) I came home, gave Darcey a bath, and did several loads of laundry. Being the overachiever that I am, I even washed the clothes I had been wearing today, forgetting that my cell phone was in my pocket. I realized about 5 minutes into the wash, but it's a front loader, so the door was locked and I couldn't confirm my suspicions for half an hour. Naturally, it's completely water-logged. Which seems to be a fitting demise in a state as damp as Florida.
The boys are in the pool, and I'm relaxing on the couch with a headache, probably from dehydration. It's nearly impossible to drink enough water here - I'm sweating so much that I can feel drops rolling down my back constantly, and the tap water tastes like reclaimed sewage. Seriously, the water tastes so bad that someone might want to see if Cuba is poisoning the city's water supply. I've resorted to using the Kool-Aid singles in our water bottles when we refill them at the park, but I know we aren't drinking enough. I don't think I'll come back to Florida in the summer until Disney builds a giant bubble over the entire city of Orlando and air conditions the whole thing. Those people are geniuses - I'm sure if they could charge extra for it, they'd figure it out.
On tomorrow's schedule: Epcot. We plan to roll in about 3 p.m. We'll let the early birds catch the worms - we prefer churros, anyways.