Today was the final day of Disney's Star Wars Weekends, and Ryan, obviously, was excited to go. Noah also had Star Wars Weekend high on his list, but mostly so he could get a Star Wars related trinket from the gift shops. (Insert massive eye rolling.) However, with a big event like this, the crowds tend to be insane. Hollywood Studios is a smaller park as well, so the crowds are concentrated. I prefer my crowds to be more diluted, so with Ryan's blessing, I stayed home with Darcey and planned to meet up with them later.
The boys had a good time, or so they tell me. Hot, yes, crowded, yes, but also full of Star Wars character sightings. Zack got to participate in the Jedi Training Academy, where he was taught lightsaber techniques and fought Darth Maul. He got a certificate afterwards and a Tooth Tunes toothbrush that plays the Star Wars theme song while he brushes. So watch out, neighborhood kids - I'm bringing home a certified, Jedi-trained lightsaber professional with the cleanest teeth ever! There is going to be crying in the cul-de-sac when we get home!
Meanwhile, I was thoroughly enjoying some time to myself. I love my family, I really do, but I am the kind of person that needs alone time. I adore that we get to go on vacations and create memories as a family - I think it's incredibly important, and I'm counting on these good memories to paper over some of the less happy family moments. But we had been going on 113 hours of family togetherness, and it was time for a break. I did some cleaning, laundry, and wrote my blog entry, then put Darcey down for a nap in a big girl bed. When I knew she was asleep and not just playing in Noah's suitcase, I went in the pool and hung out there, listening to my ipod and relaxing. Aha! This is what relaxing means on a vacation! I actually relaxed, for several hours in a row! Granted, no kids are around, so I still don't know how to relax with five other people in my personal space. But hey! This was one of my goals, and mission accomplished!
When Darcey woke up, it was time to head to the park to meet up with the guys. Here is where my life turned into a series of unfortunate events. I must say I'm glad I went into this half of the day fully rested and relaxed, otherwise there would have been tears.
First off, I hit Target to pick up pin lanyards and pins for Brad and Noah. Brad discovered pin trading the day before and he decided he wanted in on the action. Any employee with pins is willing to trade, so there are scads of pins for him to examine, mull over, and swap. It's like buying something new with no actual money trading hands. And the pins/lanyards were cheaper at Target. Since it was dinner time, I picked up several cold sandwiches and wraps to bring to the family. I thought I'd spend $20 and save $30 doing it this way, with the only inconvenience being that I had to schlep one more heavy bag through the park.
I got to the parking lot of Hollywood Studios and got Darcey in the stroller, the backpack on my back, and the food bag in my hand, and headed for the tram, where I unloaded the bag, backpack, and Darcey, and folded the stroller. It is such a production! Once seated, I realized I had left my cell phone in the car, which was the only way I could contact Ryan. Shoot. By now the tram was about to leave, so I quickly threw the stroller out of the tram, opened it up, and turned back to get the now-crying Darcey, who does not want to get out of the train. And that's when I realize that my shoelace is caught in the stroller mechanism. I drag the stroller, attached to my shoe, back to the tram, pick up Darcey and drop her in. Then I yank Darcey and the stroller closer to the tram to grab the bags. Naturally, the entire tram is watching this, probably assuming this is the show that goes along with the ride. I gather everything as fast as I can so the tram can leave and shuffle over behind the yellow line, where I finally free my footwear from the stroller. I had to laugh, even then, at how ridiculous I looked and what an embarrassing situation that was.
Round two of the tram went smoothly, and I met up with Ryan at the gate. Zack, who had been angelic the whole time without me, took this opportunity to start crying and whining about everything that had ever gone wrong for him. Ryan said he was probably hungry, so good thing I had brought dinner, right? Wrong. You can lead a family to the dinner table, but you can't make them eat. I should know that by now, but still I was completely ticked off that no one would eat a single thing I brought. Well, they ate the Doritos. But a perfectly normal looking turkey sandwich? Nope, nothing doing. I had five different things for them to choose from, and Ryan was the only one who ate. Ryan claimed that they had a late lunch so they weren't hungry. I know, I take this too personally, both at home and on vacation. Just more proof that you can't run away from your problems. But I was irritated that instead of saving $30, I wasted $20 on an uneaten dinner.
We did The Great Movie Ride and then watch Journey To Narnia, which completely let us down because there was no actual journey involved. We stood in a room and watched a 10 minute condensed version of "Prince Caspian." Darcey was whining because she had a soggy diaper, so instead of letting her bother everyone during the show, I went into a back corner and changed her on the floor. Which led to me getting a lecture on how I can't do that, it's not safe to change her on the dirty floor, I really can't ever do that again, and on and on. I felt horrible, not because I changed her diaper on the floor but because I was getting reprimanded. The guy doesn't realize that she is FourthChild, which means I would change her diaper just about anywhere you can think of. The guy kept saying how dirty the floor was and I don't know what kind of germs there are. That's the completely wrong argument for me - if he had said they don't want her dirty diaper on the floor, I would have agreed immediately. But frankly, I know exactly what kind of germs are on the floor and given the fact that Darcey is likely to lick the floor if I'm not quick enough to stop her, a quick diaper change is certainly not going to do any real damage.
Next, the boys wanted to go on Tower of Terror. Zack opts out, because spooky haunted hotel theme is too much for him, so I keep the two littles. Zack's still iffy, mood-wise, so I decide to get some ice cream while we wait. In line, Zack hits Darcey, and while I'm telling him that he can't hit Darcey, he hits ME. Well, that's it, I absolutely cannot buy ice cream for him now. I grab his hand and pull him out of the line, whereupon he immediately starts screaming and crying, full volume. This time, instead of being the ride show, I get to be the parade. I think every person in the whole place could hear him screaming, "I WANT ICE CREAM!" over and over. I basically dragged him down the street, looking for an out-of-the-way place for him to have his tantrum without it being on display and bothering the entire park. Disney should make time-out corners for tantruming kids - Zack's not the first one to lose it. And I'm not the first parent to want to say, "I'll buy you an ice cream if you would shut up!" But I didn't say that, although I wanted to. I sat him on a low brick wall and walked 10 feet away to give him some space. His tirade continued, not just about ice cream but about how maligned he is in his life, how he never wants to talk to me again - I kind of wanted to record his exact words and match them to what he says to me ten years from now.
Eventually, he calmed down and was able to apologize for hitting us. Ryan showed up then and we headed to Star Tours per my request, even though they had done it already. Brad and Noah went in with me. I put my camera under my seat, but either I missed the mesh bag or the bag had a hole in it, because my camera was not there when the ride ended. Brad had it under his seat instead. Which means that it did some bouncing around during the ride. I should have just thrown it in the wash with my cell phone, because it's the same amount of dead now. I'm completely ticked off - the camera had been on a strap around my neck, and would have been perfectly safe if I had not listened to the instructions to put it under my seat. I'm hoping I can have it fixed when I get home. So for those of you keeping track at home, the unexpected expenses now include: plumber's bill for deodorant in the toilet, new cell phone, camera repair.
It's a really, really good thing I had taken the morning off. Zack had one more tantrum in him, when Noah bought his trinket - a dog bone shaped dog tag with his name engraved on it. Notice the lack of Star Wars theme. It was not the most fun evening for me, and I should have just stayed at home. But all of the painful/embarrassing things would have depressed me on another day, and today I was able to let most of it roll off my back.
For our final day, Monday, we plan to have a pool day, then pack, clean, eat dinner, and head to Magic Kingdom in the evening. I'm glad we went on this trip, but I'll be glad when it's over. Having this much "fun" is hard work!