Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Mini Vaca

We just spent 4 days and 3 nights in Orlando, doing what we normally do on vacation these days, going to a water park Sunday (Blizzard Beach – our fave) and then a relaxing day on Monday, then The Magic Kingdom yesterday and another low profile day today.

I know I said no vacations until the kitchen is paid off (will it ever be!?) but this little vaca didn’t put us out for too much. We already had the theme park admissions as we do the Magic Your Way for multi days. If you upgrade to the water park option you get 6 extra days in the water parks over and above your 6 days in the big parks. The trick is to use all the Water Park days before using your last ‘Big Park’ day, once you use up your Big Park days the ticket is done.

Our favorite lodgings ‘The Enclave’ gave us a complimentary day to use so we only had to pay for 2 out of the 3 nights we stayed there. $200 isn’t bad for 2 nights in a 2 br 2 bath condo complete with fridge, dishwasher and microwave, not to mention 3 pools (One inside), Jacuzzis, gym, children’s playground etc. They just raised their Florida resident rate – from $89 to $102/night, but this time we stayed in one that was fully updated including Granite and Stainless steel appliances, new carpets and tasteful décor. So I guess they are updating the units and the rate will be higher to reflect that. I really was ok with the out of date furniture and the Formica, but it was nice.

The Tab: $200 Lodgings; $100 for food at the Fresh Market (2 trips) and $60 for lunch at Magic Kingdom and dinner at Blizzard Beach, $40 for Fridays meal on Monday; $120 for a couple of Walmart runs to get sunscreen, swimmies for Jamie, Benadryl for me etc. and a $75 tank of gas. $595 total. Not too bad, Fresh Market pushed it up quite a bit as we got some fancy steak, empanadas, Rice, pasta and asparagus salads and organic chocolate ice cream bars…woulda been a lot less if we only ate sandwiches.

Some reflections on the Magic Kingdom this go around:
A. Too bad they closed Toon Town. Jamie really liked the Goofy Barnstormer Roller coaster, just right for little daredevils and it has room for Mom or Dad as well. I hear tell they will be opening that section as an expanded part of Fantasyland and reopen the Goofy roller coaster, and will also have some new stuff: some sort of a Circus something and something about Ariel under the Sea. They didn’t mention whether or not they would be bringing back Mickey and Minnie’s houses, which were pretty cute or the Princess Encounters.

B. Over 2 hour wait for a Meet and Greet@!?!?! They had Rapunzel in what was formerly Belle’s enchanted garden. Belle used to do a little stage show with singing and what not but this was just hundreds of little girls standing in line for hours just to get up close to Rapunzel and her dude Flynn Rider! Seriously who does this? We had forgotten Jamie’s autograph book this time so we skipped any of the ‘character encounters.’ Jamie didn’t seem to mind too much.

C. Rides/Attractions in order:

1. Small World One of Jamie’s faves, looks like they may have refurbished it a bit, had some fantasy characters I don’t remember seeing in there. Also NO LINE!

2. Merry go round – can’t miss this, though we did skip Dumbo as we didn’t get here when the park opened. Dumbo isn’t even 90 seconds long so it isn’t worth any kind of wait and there is usually at least a 45 minute wait for it.

3. Mickey’s Philharmonic show (Jamie’s first real 3D encounter- they say toddlers can’t see the three D and I can attest to that, this time she was reaching towards the screen for Flounder and Mickey, last time she couldn’t even see with the 3D glasses on

4. Snow White’s Scary adventure -this one is kind of dark with lots of witch women

5. Winnie the Pooh which had new kids encounter activities all along the front where the kids could pound mallets to get the gophers to come out, move the honeybees. ‘Paint’ with honey and other fun stuff. WTG Disney for coming up with something to keep the kids from getting crazy bored. Wish they could develop this sort of thing for all the kids’ rides.

5.5 attempt to do the Rapunzal encounter with some photos taken from afar

6. Tomorrowland where I ran to get Space Mountain Fast Passes; People mover -This was great! Skip the 90 second Astro Orbiter and do this instead, gives you a good tour of Tomorrowland

7. Carousel of Progress – where the audiences move around to different stages where there were Amiotronic robot families depicting 1900, 1920, 1940, 2010. It was kind of weird that they skipped the 60’s I bet

8. Stitches great escape – turns out not so great, why did Jamie have to be 40” tall for that? Just for the scare factor I guess. This was just lame. Mike said he fell asleep

9. Lunch at TomorrowLand diner, where Jamie and I split chicken and ribs and Mike ate a turkey sandwich and we drank our drinks we brought

10. Jamie and Dad- Mad Tea Cups/ Me Space Mountain

11. Daddy and Jamie music show in Tomorrowland, Me waiting at Fantasyland where we were supposed to catch up together.

12. Then off to Frontierland where we watched Splash Mountain splash land over and over again forever, then got the Fast Pass for it when Jamie decided she wanted to ride it; then on to Tom Sawyers Island (which was mainly steps up and down and a tunnel, a barrel bridge that rolled and a play structure)

13. Then we saw the 3pm parade (not as good as the evening parade - only about 10 minutes long)

13.5 Dinner (Packed sandwiches) sitting in the shade by Splash Mountain

14.Train ride – We killed time riding the train till our 6:20 space Space Mountain Fast Pass return and rested as we went 2 times around, got off at Main Street to get Mike souvenir fudge then back on back to Frontierland. No Souvenirs for me or Jamie this time but we did trade in Jamie’s’ old ‘Spinning Light up Minnie Mouse’ we had gotten from a prior trip to the World that wouldn’t light up anymore, for a new one that would light up, (this was the second trade-in) so she was thrilled. When we got back we got a Fast Pass for Thunder Mountain and then were just in time for our Fast Pass for

15. Splash Mountain – this was the high point of the day for all of us I think. Jamie didn’t want to ride until we sat at the bridge and watched folks coming down the mountain and getting splashed several times. It was really cute and it didn't have any of those stupid gushers that just dump water on you. You simply got splashed. also in true Disney fashion they had the story of Brer Rabbit and Brer Fox throughout the ride.

16. Thunder Mountain – We were so proud of Jamie, we bribed her with Mikes Fudge if she was brave enough to go on and I think she really liked it. This one is mild enough for a kids first real roller coaster ride (Other than mini coasters).

17. Swiss Family Robinson tree house – pretty lame, Mike skipped this one as he was ready to go. Wish we had gone on Aladdin’s Magic carpet ride instead!

We then left among Jamie’s loud and plaintive pleadings to stay for the 9pm Parade. We just didn’t have it in us to stay any longer. This was our first full day in the Parks; we normally go back to the hotel for lunch and a nap. This time we were there from 8:15-8:15pm. It was a wonderful day, with overcast skies, no rain, very moderate temperatures with maybe a high of 82 degrees.

Sunday when we went to the water park it was a high of 90 and didn’t feel that hot as it wasn’t humid. That was a great day for the water park, and then it rained on Monday, which was great for a hang around the hotel day.

Oh and when we got to the hotel on Sunday after the water park our room was not ready at 6pm! They didn’t want to give us another room as the General Manager had reserved us a room that was totally renovated – the one with the granite etc. I asked for a late check out for us having to wait for the room until 7pm and they agreed.

So waiting for the room to be ready, led to the first of three trips to Walmart. It seems we do this almost every trip we take, no matter how I over pack. The late checkout we earned meant today we got to enjoy the facilities one more day before taking off for home.

All and all a wonderful mini vaca!

I have been writing this post as we are driving home, or should I say Mike is driving home. We just had to pull off I-95 just north of the I-4 interchange. The rain was coming down in sheets and the wind gusts were stronger than anything I have felt before – we are guessing 80 mph gusts. Dozens of vehicles also pulled over, and it felt like the wind was going to knock the van over.

Someday I will have an air card or a phone with internet so I can post live, but this will have to suffice. I am writing while Jamie is watching Tinker Bell and Mike are driving.

What a great life I live! Almost home, and then we go get our new dog Samson who has been staying with the family we got him from. Poor baby didn’t want us to leave him there which I was glad to see. I thought he was missing his other family. I miss him; it will be good to see him, the kitties and our home again. Be home soon!

PS - Just picked up our dog that promptly came home and peed on the carpet on Mike’s side of the bed, same place he peed the day before we left. Guess the Odor neutralizer I applied wasn’t effective. Does that stuff wear out? I had it from prior kitties that had issues; it may be 8 yrs old.

PPS - We closed the bedroom door to keep Samson out of there while reading the bedtime story to Jamie and he went into Jamie's room and Shat all over the rug! Darn it, not sure I am up for this poop cleaning part of it. Any advice out there?!?

Monday, March 14, 2011

Ok I guess it was getting too 'zen' around here with Buddah Fish. We brought home Sampson Saturday night for a sleepover.

Mike wasn't pleased, but I assured him it was a test run. The friends who gave us the ten gallon tank need to downsize on their pets as they have 3 dogs and 2 cats and fish and may be looking for a new house to rent soon.

When we visit Jamie LOVES Sampson (Not pictured above but looks alot like this) and he is the most well behaved and laid back puppy I have ever seen. He is 5 mos old and appears to be a golden retriever.

It went well...Lets just say Mike melted at how Jamie and Sampson bonded.

So we will be taking him on Friday for the entire weekend.

We aren't really 'dog people' so we are a bit intimidated.

Where do we put him during the day? When we are on vacation? Will he chew the door, or our furniture? WIll the cats ever get along with him? Will Jamie get bored once he isn't the new thing around here? and most importantly:

Will he end up my dog?

Chances are he will. And I think I'm all right with that.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Buddah Fish

We have had a goldfish in a small 3 gallon tank Mike had for a little over 6 months. We originally had two but one died.

So a friend recently offered us his 10 gallon tank as they were upgrading to a larger one.

We went to Petsmart on Sunday and were ready to buy an Oscar, which is this cool african cichlid that is very expressive...well as expressive as a fish can be I guess. They act a bit like a puppy in that they come right up to the top of the tank and you can even pet them.

I have always wanted an Oscar,, actually a Tiger Oscar. When I was younger my boyfriend had one and it was a cool pet for a fish.
But the Oscar isn't a nice fish. Not to the other fish who he lives with. In fact he is a bit of a cannibal in that he eats goldfish when he gets larger.

And speaking of getting larger - they said he would too big for the 10 gallon tank within three months. And he will kill or bully any other fish in the tank while growing.

We were also told to get the tank set up first and let it sit for a day or so. So Sunday Mike set up the tank and tonight we bought our first fish. Since we were told we really should have a 55 gallon tank for an oscar we switched our plan.

Did you know it's best to only start with one or two fish in the beginning. That with a new tank you can actually kill off most of your fish if you full stock it in the beginning. Something about the 'cycle' of the water chemistry. They STRONGLY recommend you start with just one or maybe two if the fish are very slim bodied.

So we got Buddah fish tonight instead - a Dalmation Molly. A Molly isn't a slim bodied fish, so hence just one to begin with. He is a boy and if we want to can get girls later and they can have live offspring.

The reason we are calling him Buddah is we have found that the fish tank is a relaxing center to our living room. And since he won't be spreading mayhem and carnage like the Oscar would have, it seemed like a good moniker. And also I found a small White Buddah at thrift store this week and it looks really cool in the tank with our black and white fish.

If we do decide to get him some gal friends we can call them Karma and Peace and Harmony as three females are recommended so he doesn't pester the one to death. So one male, three females and maybe a bunch of babies darting around.

Yeah sure, sounds real harmonious.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

What the ______?

Ok so Jamie starting using this expression. As in "What the H___? I had a little talk with her about it on the way to school yesterday. I asked her where she got that expression and it turns out her teachers 13 yr old daughter has been hanging out in the afternoons there.

I told her that I didn't think it was a phrase that she should be using as a little girl. She replied that she is now a big girl. I said yes you are getting to be a big girl but are still a little girl. I then told her about all the things that she will be expected to do when she is 13. Like what Mommy?

Oh like dishes every night, sweeping and mopping the floor, homework every night, helping with the laundry and keeping the house straightened. She kept asking what else? Like she was looking forward to all those chores.

Maybe time to assign her some real chores?

Think she is ready to start manning the new Shark mop we just got?

No...not yet, soon enough she will be expected to do her share. Maybe we will start smaller. (Besides I kind of like using my new mop!, I know what a dork!)

Do they make a child size broom and dustpan set I wonder?