If you have not yet read the Disney World Part I: CiCi's Revenge post, I would strongly encourage you to do so before reading Part II. Otherwise, you might end up as confused as I was as a BYU student who foolishly attempted to quickly read Dostoevky's The Brothers Karamazov by reading two chapters and then skimming the next two. This pattern was repeated until the book was finished. It took me nearly 400 pages before I realized that the characters Ivan, Vanya, and Vanechka were all the same person. The only part of The Brothers Karamazov that I have retained over the years is the Russian phrase, "Moio sudno na vozdušnoy poduške polno ugrey", which translates to, "My hover craft is full of eels" (Seriously, it does). Classical Russian literature is not be trifled with. Neither is the high-quality content on this blog.
Day Five: All Bags Will Be Searched
8:54 a.m. - As we get ready to depart for the Magic Kingdom, Brandon says his stomach hurts and that he is feeling a little bit sick. But the kid's a trooper and decides to "suck it up", "walk it off", "cowboy up", "man up", and "give 110%". His skin color is an odd mix of light green, grey, and the color of my yellow poncho. Let's see, the boys both ate pizza with meat on it (or a meat-like substance, anyway) at CiCi's while neither of the girls did.....not a good sign.
9:04 a.m. - While in the van heading to the Magic Kingdom, Andrea nervously hands Brandon a plastic Wal-Mart bag and teaches him how to use it in case he feels like he needs to throw up.
9:11 a.m. - We just passed CiCi's pizza en route to Disney as visions of vandalism danced through my head.
9:22 a.m. - Arrive at Disney and am bringing the van to a stop in the Pluto lot, row 26. Before I can take the key out of the ignition, Brandon snaps the Wal-Mart bag to his face and fills it with more stuff than a six-year-old's stomach should be able to hold. The kid has excellent aim, though. Not a drop in the van. B-Train shoots.....and he scores!
9:25 a.m. - I tied off the top of the now full Wal-Mart bag and am looking for the nearest trash can. We have to take a tram from the parking lot to get to the Magic Kingdom and there is a garbage can near the tram, so we head in that direction.
9:26 a.m. - Eeeeeewwwwww! The bag is leaking! On a positive note, if later in the day I forget where I parked the van, I can just follow the trail of throw-up back to Pluto 26. It's a little more gross than a trail of breadcrumbs, but just as effective.
9:27 a.m. - There are about a hundred people in the herd heading toward the tram, so I am trying my best to secretly conceal the disgusting payload that I am carrying. The best way to describe what I am feeling right now is the sensation you get when you try to sneak a 1-lb. bag of Sweedish Fish into a movie theater without getting busted by the ticket taker.
9:28 a.m. - As I near the tram, I hear the driver say over a loudspeaker, "You may take bags into the Magic Kingdom, though all bags will be searched before you enter the park." I chuckle out loud as I imagine the horrified look on the bag searcher's face if I were to hand him my Wal-Mart bag. I decide to give the Disney employees a break and discretely slip the boy's upchuck into the most unlucky garbage can at the happiest place on earth.
3:12 p.m. - Brandon and I share a ride and float through Pirates of the Caribbean. It is a little darker and tenser than I had thought it would be. The boy reaches over and grabs my hand as we go through a pitch black section of the ride. Suddenly, our boat rushes down a steep hill and creates a big splash at the bottom. Brandon's pants now feel wet. I'm giving him the benefit of the doubt that it's just water.
5:02 p.m. - Brandon and I go to the Indy Speedway where we drive a gas-powered race car that is forced to stay in a certain lane. We are told to keep at least 10-feet of separation between us and the car in front of us. Unfortunately, a girl who looks to be about 8 years old is "driving" the vehicle two cars in front of us. She must not be able to keep the pedal pushed in because she goes for six feet and then screeches to a halt. After sitting there for five seconds, she pushes ahead another six feet. My frustration is bubbling up since I just waited in line for an hour to do this ride and I can tell that Brandon's visions of whipping around the track are being shattered. After about two hundred feet I yell, "It's the pedal on the right!" I stop short of finishing the sentence with, "....Grandma!", which I probably would have done on a real freeway. Then the irony hits me. I'm sitting in a car, stuck in traffic just after 5:00 p.m. on a weekday, and yelling at the car in front of me. Why again did I pay $80 to enter the park? I could have experienced road rage for free! Fortunately a very helpful Disney employee jumped in the car and helped her out the rest of the way, allowing Brandon and me to push our vehicle to it's limits. I think the limit was 6 mph.
6:20 p.m. - We are watching the big-time performance outside of Cinderella's castle and Whitney is in a trance taking everything in. As a three-year-old girl, her life revolves around princesses. Snow White and Aurora are in the same scene and I think Whit's head is about to explode. But wait, here comes Cinderella too! The look on W's face is absolutely priceless right now. Moments like this make the car ride, cheap hotel, gas prices, road rage, and throw up absolutely worth it.
6:22 p.m. - You will never guess who just came on stage as one of the performers. Ladies and gentlemen, it's Barack Obama! Seriously, one of the male dancers could be Obama's body double if his campaign takes him somewhere dangerous, like Libya, Zimbabwe or Kearns, Utah. The only trouble is that it is as hard to get a good picture of this guy as it is to get the real Barack to give a straight answer to a simple foreign policy question. On a side note, if the whole politics thing does not work out for Obama, couldn't you see him as a Broadway star? With his looks, charisma, smile, and gift for dramatic, moving speeches, he could be the next...ummmm....(searching my brain for a famous stage actor)....well.......uuuhhhh...Nevermind. If McCain wins the 2008 election, do not be surprised if the 2011 Tony Award for Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Play goes to Barack Hussein Obama.
8:03 p.m. - My back is in a lot of pain, so I decide to head to the van while Andrea and the kids hit some final rides to finish the night. In order to get back to the parking lot, I have to first wait in a long line to take a ferry boat to the tram. Then I have to wait in line for the tram, which takes me back to Pluto 26. The whole process took 56 minutes. Ugh. I honestly think it is probably easier and less time consuming to sneak into the U.S. through the Mexican border than it is to go from Frontier Land to the parking lot. I would have paid a human smuggler $200 to get me to my Dodge Grand Caravan in 10 minutes instead of the headache I just went through.
10:05 p.m. - On our way back to the motel we realize that we are out of Wal-Mart bags in case Brandon gets sick again. He's been fine for the past 13 hours, so we do not worry much about it. Then, as if on cue, Brandon throws up all over himself, his booster seat, and the van. I feel so bad for the kid right now, but he does not complain once. He just asked for a water bottle and said he feels better now.
10:07 p.m. - Pull into a McDonald's parking lot to wipe down both Brandon and the van. His shorts took the brunt of the assault, so they have to come off. Yep, he's making the rest of the trip back to the motel in his underwear. Where do I register as a candidate for Father of the Year? I ask Andrea for some hand sanitizer, which she provides for me. I then jokingly ask for some leg sanitizer for the boy and Andrea jokingly answers with, "I don't think they've invented leg sanitizer yet." Brandon then chimes in with, "Don't worry, guys, I'm pretty sure they'll invent it at Tomorrow Land." I love this kid.
10:36 p.m. - Stop at Wal-Mart for some Febreeze, which is badly needed at this point. While waiting for Andrea, I see a mother leave through the automatic doors with two small children in her shopping cart. I indignantly think to myself, "What kind of a mother takes her kids to Wal-Mart at 10:30 on a school night?" Then I remember that I have both of my kids with me and one of them is in his underwear. I suddenly put down the rock that I am about to fling from my glass house.
11:17 p.m. - Since we have the Febreeze anyway, Andrea sprays down our motel room. Thank you, Hotels.com!
Day Six: "Dude!"
4:40 a.m. - Whitney has a nightmare and Andrea gracefully slips into bed with her to calm her down. I'm glad she beat me to the punch because I probably would have scared W to death if I tried to get over to her. My back is hurting so badly that I walk like Frankenstein, I'm two weeks beyond needing a haircut, and I have not shaved for three days. If Whit thought her nightmare was scary, what would she have thought if I rambled toward her in the pitch black in a creepy motel room?
8:38 a.m. - Brandon says he is too sick to go back to the Magic Kingdom. I volunteer to stay back in the motel with him while the girls head out for another day of fun.
12:30 p.m. - I checked out the book My Side of the Mountain a few weeks ago to read with Brandon. It was one of my favorite books as a kid, and Brandon has really liked reading it as well. We read a few chapters and bond a little bit. Kind of a touching father-son moment as I read him a story about how a young boy can survive in the wilderness should he ever run away from home. Not that I'm encouraging him to do that.......
3:53 p.m. - Brandon is feeling well enough to head back to the Magic Kingdom. We require him to keep a plastic Wal-Mart bag in his back pocket at all times.
4:22 p.m. - A parade of Disney characters just went down the street. Why is the star of ABC's Super Nanny show sitting on a float being followed by chimney sweeps singing about their chim-chimeny, chim-chimeny, chim-chim-charoo's? Maybe Super Nanny's ratings are down?
5:16 p.m. - A father carrying his infant daughter walks past me and I see his little girl kick off her left shoe. It falls to the ground without the dad realizing it, and he continues to walk away. I pick it up, track him down, and give him the nearly-lost shoe. He looks at me and just says, "Thanks, dude." As fathers, we have each other's backs when things like this happen. Since our wives do so much of the parenting while we work and play Madden on the PS2, we men cannot afford to slip up on the rare occasions that we have complete responsibility for the kids. There is nothing worse than coming home feeling proud of being a good dad, only to realize that you've lost the burp cloth, misplaced the binki, or brought your child home with one less shoe than she left with. For every nameless stranger that has helped me over the years when I have messed up, let me just express my thanks with a heartfelt, "Dude."
7:13 p.m. - On the Tom Sawyer paddle boat ride, Brandon and a boy about his age both lean over the side and spit in the water. They are now using their fingers as guns to shoot ducks. They didn't plan this to happen, it just spontaneously did. Behavior like this is just hard wired into a little boy's DNA.
7:58 p.m. - We are watching a show featuring a group of animatronic singing bears. A group of desperate-looking female bears take the stage and sing a song called, "All the guys that turn me on, turn me down." Kind of a mature subject for a family show. Could somebody please show these she-bears the CNN segment from a few days ago telling women to settle for ugly men? Nothing like lowering your standards to solve a problem.
9:15 p.m. - We and about 4.3 million other people line up for the electric light parade. I have to hold Whitney up so that she can see it. My back is absolutely killing me right now, but there is no other way for her to see. I keep wanting to tell her that I cannot hold her any longer, but ever time I hear her shout, "Look dad, it's Ariel!" or, "I think Jasmine just looked at me!", I manage to convince my back to hang in there for just another five minutes before exploding into a huge jumble of bone, ligament, muscle, and discs.
Day Seven: Limping to the Finish
10:16 a.m. - We arrive at Disney's Hollywood studios. I am consistently surprised at how many "mean" t-shirts people wear. A few notable examples from the last few days - "Yes, I'm ignoring you", "Do something with your life...and get me a beer", "Did you eat an extra bowl of stupid this morning?", "Shhhh....I'm hiding from the stupid people", "Your village called, their idiot is missing", and "Vote Hillary in '08".
12:30 p.m. - We lose track of which water bottle the kids were drinking and the one Andrea and I were drinking at lunch. I see Andrea hold one of the water bottles up to the light to give it the backwash test, a dead giveaway as to which bottle belongs to the kids. I think I see three in-tact goldfish and half a granola bar floating in the water bottle. Andrea gives this one to the kids.
1:33 p.m. - The actors in the High School Musical 2 performance are doing a portion of their act using sign language. Andrea and I both instinctively do the Napoleon Dynamite Happy Hands routine.
5:34 p.m. - While sitting in the amphitheater awaiting the Beauty and the Beast show, Brandon leans over and tells me he is going to throw up again. We grab the Wal-Mart bag out of his back pocket and hustle outside. He manages to hide behind a tree and fill another bag full of memories. The boy puts on his tough-guy face and matter-of-factly says, "Dad, it was pizza." Again, I tie the bag closed and head for the nearest garbage can. A man is walking toward me, glances at the bag, realizes what it contains and reflexively grunts something that sounds like, "Awwuugghhh!" He then looks disgustedly at me like I just told him I drowned a litter of cute baby kittens just for kicks or something. Hey, my son just threw up again. Cut me some slack!
6:22 p.m. - After seven long, fun, exhausting days, we are ready to call it quits. We are a site to behold on our way out of the park! Brandon looks like a ghost and is being wheeled out in a stroller. Andrea is seven months pregnant. Whitney cannot see out of her right eye because of a treatment she is undergoing and is constantly squinting. I am shuffling out out the park like the Hunchback of Notre Dame.
Day Eight: A Blessed Man
9:23 a.m. - Check out of the motel and begin the journey home.
9:45 a.m. - Andrea looks out the window and sees one of Whitney's pre-school classmates in the van next to us on the freeway who is also heading home from Disney. We honk and wave. The wife is driving while the husband is sitting in the back of their minivan with his legs extending all the way up to the front row. How did he scam that system? Props to him, however he pulled it off.
10:18 a.m. - Finally get out of Orlando after nearly an hour of sitting on a packed freeway. Not off to a good start.
10:22 a.m. - Brandon must not like the 65 mph speed, because the moment we finally start moving, he somehow manages to find more items in his stomach that need to come back up. Poor kid fills yet another Wal-Mart bag. This time the evidence is discarded in a Marriott dumpster. In his stubborn, tough style, Brandon takes a sip of water and declares, "I kind of like throwing up because I get all of my energy back after I do."
11:00 a.m. - We have gone approximately 55 miles in our first ninety minutes. At this rate we will reach North Carolina in about four and a half months.
12:12 p.m. - Andrea and I take turns going through the alphabet telling each other names of random people from our past whose names begin with the letter we are on. I am hoping to learn something incriminating that I can use to blackmail her into letting me sit in the back row and stretch out my legs while she drives. She does not take the bait. She's a sly one, that Andrea.
5:36 p.m. - There have been a few minutes of complete silence when Whitney out of the blue says, "Jack in my pre-school class makes the best duck sounds, like this, "Quack, quaaaack." It was a hilarious, completely random moment. Guess you had to have been there.
8:29 p.m. - After nearly 12 hours of driving, we once again pass Whitney's classmate on the freeway just outside of Charlotte. I thought they would have been home right now with all of the stops we had to make, which brings me to the following conclusion:
Whitney's classmate and her family also needed thirteen hours to make it back home. I had just assumed that they would sail straight home without any of the misadventures that have befallen us on this trip. But they didn't. If we would have stopped for dinner together, they most likely could have regaled us with their own list of trials they experienced in an effort to have some fun as a family. While our stops on the drive home were for throwing up and pregnancy-related bathroom breaks, their reasons for stopping were probably just as comical.
While I have pointed out most of the odd, random, frustrating, and hilarious moment of our adventure, the majority of the time was spent having unabashed fun with my family. These few days of excitement that we somehow pulled off despite all of the business trips, pre-natal visits, church callings, baseball games, and dance classes is what life is all about. We made some wonderful memories on this trip and it helped me to realize how blessed I am to have the family that I do. I love these guys.
Especially when the boy has a Wal-Mart bag in his back pocket.