We made it back to the Microplex last night in time to hit the sack in preparation for an early call this morning. Davis graduated at 9:00 (in the A.M.), so the seat savers had to start saving seats by 8:00. I can't possibly be old enough to have a college-bound high school graduate, but all the folks sitting around me looked pretty ancient cheering their high school seniors across the stage. We made a date with Davis to do this again in four years, with built-in incentives for early completion (remember, in the college tuition world TIME IS MONEY). Davis had a great attitude about the whole thing. He wasn't too sentimental or morose over leaving buddies behind. He took it as intended, as a commencement. I think we will all follow suit and start our lives anew this morning.
I read in USA Today yesterday that more people choose Disney World, Orlando for their vacation destination than anywhere else in the country. We, along with about one million other folks per day, can attest to that. On the trip home, I told Erin that I would turn the website over to her, so she could tell you about our week at Disney. Here's her story in her own words in purple (with my smarmy comments in their usual color and font):
Being up at 4:00 is hard enough, but when you have to be up at 4:00 to drive to the airport by 5:00 and your jet takes off at 6:00, you're kinda tired. Well...that is what we did. I got the window seat on the flight to Houston. Nico got it on the flight to Orlando. We arrived smoothly, although we had a little trouble finding the bus (you'd think that wouldn't be too difficult, seeing how big they are, but somehow, if you are looking for a bus with 20,000 of your closest friends the buses tend to get lost in the shuffle). Check in was fine. By then we were starving (not an overstatement), so we ate some flat bread pizza and took a look at our villa. After that it was "parks here we come."
We went to Animal Kingdom first. We went to Dinoland while mother got the golden ticket situation under control (this is where I presented the doctor's note which turned into a Guest Assist Pass for us to flash at rides, etc. so we could avoid lines as much as possible. This ragged piece of paper is my one and only sourvenir from the trip, because it reminds me of how much more fun everything is if your patience isn't continuously tested by how long you are willing to wait to have said fun). We saw a life-sized model of the world's most complete t-rex. It was a girl, but I don't remember her name. Mom found us after that, and we went on a spinning roller coster for kids called the Time Machine. Then we started walking to one of the Animal Kingdom lands, looking for something interesting. We found, after a few walks around and a few rides, the best ride (in my opinion) Mount Everest. You go backwards on this and down really fast.
Those were the two hits for Animal Kingdom (Time Machine and Mount Everest). We did a lot more, but it is too much to put down and fit. We went to dinner at the Rainforest Cafe. The line was long, so we sat at the bar (guess whose idea this was?). I had cocoanut shrimp which was pretty good. We went home, and I was the first to bed.
Well, we slept pretty good that night conisdering that Nico hogged the covers, and I nearly pushed him off the bed in my sleep. We woke up, had a bit of cereal and toast, and got ready to go to the Magic Kingdom. We got there and went straight to the Haunted Mansion. I had ridden this at Disneyland and thought we should start with one that we knew was fun. After that we learned that many of the rides we were looking forward to (Pirates of the Caribbean, Splash Mountain, and Thunder Mountain were closed for the moment), so we went on other rides. I think that Nico's favorite spot was Tomorrowland. He like the race cars and Space Mountain. You can drive your own race car on a track and you can feel what it's like. I wasn't really big enough to push the gas and steer without being uncomfortable, but I loved Space Mountain as much as Nico did. It's a ride that has many turns and not too many downs. Its all inside and mostly dark. We tried to end the day with one final ride on Space Mountain, but it shut down while we were in line. That made us late to the parade and we didn't get very good seats. Mom and dad had choice seats but we couldn't get to them. We went home, and again I was first to bed.
We slept in a little bit on Wednesday because we were going to a water park and it didn't open so early. We got our bathing suits on and headed out. We went into the wave pool as soon as we got there and that was our first big mistake. Mom had one rule at the water park: we had to stick together. Davis, Nico, and I went out into the water while mom got situated. Nico was braver and pressing forward, I was lagging a little. We broke the only rule. Nico got hit by the wave and lost his footing and had to be rescued by a lifeguard. He was more careful after that, especially because they closed down the wave maker for about twenty minutes after it happened. We went on some slides next: three curvy ones and three that went straight down four stories. After that we ate our picnic, then did the tube rides. Davis had enough and took off for a nap. We rode the water roller coaster and the slides again before heading back to our villa.
We took a little rest and went to Epcot for the evening. We entered by the big golf ball. We looked at some of the inventions and games, but kept walking towards our dinner restaurant. Mom and I got sidetracked down the butterfly exhibit, but made it to the Chinese Restuarant in time. After the Chinese restaurant where I had soup and sesame chicken, we went to Norway, rode the Viking ride, and watched the show. We wondered around some more and stopped for a longer stay in Japan where we made masks. We caught up with Davis and dad in time for the big fireworks show. By squeezing in between some people's legs we were able to see a magnificent fireworks presentation. We went home and zonked out.
The next day was our last day in the parks. We went back to the Magic Kingdom and rode every ride there. We didn't watch ANY SHOWS. While we were riding It's A Small World, Nico and I turned into fourth graders. We celebrated afterwards with ice cream (for me and mom) and a popsicle (for Nico). We rode Space Mountain three more times, and mom even rode it twice. We went home and zonked out.
Friday we had to get up early to have our suitcases ready. It took all day to get home.
Well, that pretty much covers it. Except the part that Walter and Davis take a slow start to the day everyday, work out in the spa and fitness center, stroll across the canal to Downtown Disney for a civilized lunch, and join us later for the evening activities. It didn't bother me a bit. I had my coffee and chocolate chip cookie every morning. That's the good life. It's a perfect vacation where everyone gets to do what they want. The amazing thing about this vacation is the generosity that begat it. I do not know who treated us to this getwaway, which is great. It means that I can look in each person's face at church and believe that it could be that person who loved us enough to give us this treat. You would be amazed at how different it feels when you assume the very best about every single person you meet.
Tuesday we will get back to the grind. Davis has wrangled himself two pretty decent part time jobs (one working at a forestry experiment, the other in a pathology lab at the med school). Summer school starts for me bright and early Tuesday morning, and of course Walter faces a hip-high mound of paper work as soon as he darkens the door of his office. As soon as class is over on Tuesday, I'll grab Erin and make a run to Houston for Erin's quarterly scans and a clinic appointment. I will post results when I hear them, but with the Memorial Day holiday, Tuesday is likely to be swamped down. We're hoping for stable or improved.