Vacation part deux…and I’m going to go a bit rogue (one) on the order of events. Our last day was actually spent at Animal Kingdom and, I have to say, it was amazing. I had no idea. I really thought the gang would pooh-pooh it and we’d end up back at Port Orleans three seconds after we got there. Everyone thought that. The park was absolutely beautiful – each section done in its own theme, including Pandora – which included the Avatar ride that everyone insisted we go on.
Me Pre-Visit: Really? Avatar? That weird, not-so-good movie? Mmmm. Okay.
Me Five Seconds Into the Ride: Holy Mother Of Beautiful Pearls, what is this magic? Am I high? Did I take something? I can’t stop looking around this virtual world. I’m on a real banshee. I can feel it! The wind, the mist, the colors. What is happening. Is this the rapture?
I really can’t say enough about Animal Kingdom or Pandora.
So let’s go back to through the rest of the week…
Monday: Grumpy sighting. We were only two and a half days in and possibly over-front-loaded the activities and in severe need of a Snickers bar for the boy child. Things I don’t do well with: children walking around on expensive vacations acting like we’ve begun to inflict torture in wanting their participation. I have to say, I’ve gotten much better at dealing with this. A year ago, I’d have poked the bear to relieve myself of my annoyance (classic female move, I know…). But, I ignored it for quite some time and then did a quick ‘when’s the last time you ate’ check. Turned out it was hours before – and nothing with substance – a critical mistake for a 14 year old pushing six feet. Problem solved. Yes, it is vacation so you can be a bit stupid in eating…but a straight sugar and carb diet will send you straight onto my nerves, young one. Surely we’d do better the next day while touring Diagon Alley – if we could squeeze past that, our days would start to slow down.
Tuesday: Oh just kidding, we were at Diagon Alley when, evidently, vacation bliss was over again. Remember the two days I spent faux worshiping all things Star Wars? Evidently when we got to my park, the plan was to just sit down and stare at our phones – while I walked around alone. Definitely could have saved $800 and gotten a solo ticket. Is this one of those parenting moments where you realize your memories of an adventure aren’t nearly as important to your kids as they are to you? We’d had so much fun when we first came to Harry Potterland – everyone wide eyed and in disbelief at the reality of the place. This time, not so much – just a ‘meh,’ and a ‘oh, it just didn’t do anything for me.’ Uh, hello….were you even trying?!!?!? Was whatever was happening at Oak Knoll nearly as important as my need to recreate Zack losing his eleven-year-old shite on an exhilarating ride?
Eventually everyone got their heads out of their rears (yes, mine included…) and the day wrapped up with several wins: #1: Beignets! How I came to live with three people who’d never had one is beyond me. Luckily, we were all partaking in Fat Tuesday and the park had special food at the ready. Score! #2: Mardi Gras! Yes, we accidentally planned our trip to, what we learned, a super popular place to celebrate the kick off to Lent. We got sidelined by an incoming parade and figured we’d yawn it out before trekking our way across the park to dinner. Except…it was awesome. The floats were gorgeous, music was impossible not to wriggle to and, suddenly, all four Barlows were yelling for beads. Where did this family come from? We’re fun! #3: Realizing we were already fried. On our cruise vacations, we’d always pick trips that included a ‘Day at Sea’ (or two) – built-in, forced relaxation. This trip did not have that – and so we started and kept going going balls to the wall. The grown ups realized we were losing control and declared Wednesday a Day at Sea. Which mostly worked. We slept in, slid into breakfast just before the lunchtime switch over and eventually reached a blissful state of boredom just in time for the rain to come in. The kids left us for, yes, more Star Wars – wanting some non-parent time. We also went to Star Wars, several busses later and, lo and behold, were met at our dinner table in the Docking Bay by our teens. Maybe they did still like us.
We ended up dodging the rain in search of the Skyliner – which we stretched out in and toured three parks and several resorts – it had potential to be my new favorite nap spot – before landing back in Epcot, which solidified itself as our favorite wander park. We discovered on our first visit (2016) that Epcot is the best option on a rainy day – small crowds and plenty of countries to visit to stay dry. After five days, we were up to 35 miles on our shoes and approximately 135 hand washings (use the railing, Zack, but don’t get any germs!). The smell of coconut lime permeated from us as we took turns chasing each other around with hand sanitizer, which, evidently, dried out Rich’s hands enough that he asked for lotion for approximately the first time ever in his life. As a lotion fanatic…I was gleeful! What scent? Aloe? Firming? Oil Free? Tell me more! My glee turned to horror four hours later when I realized he was using my daytime face cream as body lotion. Uh, what the…??? For God’s sake, man, I already told you I’d forgotten my nighttime face cream and, hello, there is resort lotion literally right there.
By Thursday, we were the owners of three light sabers. The mosquito like whoosh, womp was a sound I was learning to tune out. And by tune out, I mean, I went to Dok Ondor’s and bought myself my one of my very own (Ben Solo’s). We had Rey’s (Zack – purchased at the gift shop three seconds after arrival), Luke’s (Rich – purchased at Dok Ondor’s) and mine… which, upon delivery to my room, turned out to be too heavy for a lady with a bum wrist. I was struggling to faux battle when I noticed we also had another version of grumpy Zack. After some more mom digging, I was able to determine that the issue was weapon envy. He liked Rich & my light saber’s better to the point of a one way ticket to Sulkyville. Though, in fairness, he’d been saving money for a year for this purchase – totally understandable why he’d want to love it. Of course, my sweet young boy was working through the seven stages of buyer’s remorse – completely forgetting my ability to return/exchange any item at anytime and anywhere. Two phone calls later and Zack & I were off on another round of Galaxy’s Edge – with one very crumbled illegible receipt in hand (how did that happen in two days?). And two hours later, he was perky and joyful and chatting away with strangers, ‘better’ light saber in hand. On a side note… I also exchanged mine for the much lighter Obi Wan saber. During this exchange, I learned not to ask for Chewbacca’s light saber. I do realize the likelihood of ever engaging in a battle are rare… but it seemed important that I could swing around a weapon I clearly didn’t deserve in able to make the whoosh, womp sound.
The result of this adventure was finding myself at the concierge desk asking a question I never, ever thought I’d ask in my life – how much would it cost to ship six light sabers? Also, how does TSA feel about light sabers? Exactly where I thought I’d be ten years ago when I was living in my single girl townhouse in Raleigh. And if you’ve done the math… yes, six… there were three more to come Friday night after a session at Savi’s. How many is too many? I’ve ignored the various suggestions I’ve heard about where they will be going upon arrival at the Barlow house (to the sides of the television, above our headboard, the guest bathroom, under our pillows, lining the stairs (okay…that one might work…if its the basement stairs). Needless to say, Galaxy’s Edge was a hit with most of the Barlow family – and once I decided to pretend I was just visiting a foreign country…I kind of enjoyed it as well.
Mispronunciations my family pretty constantly reprimanded me for:
Millenium Falcon: Millenium Falcom, Millenial Falcon
Dok Ondor’s: Don Hondos, Doc Honders, the doctor store
Obi Wan: Obi Juan, Obiwon
Light Saber: Light Saver, Wand, Sword, Swingy thing
Luke Skywalker: Luke Stormwalker
Whoosh Womp. Nailed it.