Thursday, October 25, 2012

Disneyland 2012: Wait, Shamu doesn't work for the Mouse! (recap pt 4)

Haille takes coloring seriously. Everything must be just so.
Seaworld in San Diego meant getting up early, getting ready and getting out the door. Thankfully - due to my getting sick the day before and leaving the park early - we had a lot of time to sleep before our day began (yay earlyish bedtimes). Haille slept in her own bed all that night and I got a decent night sleep. Not long after breakfast we loaded up the cars - the girls weren't happy that they didn't get to ride together, but neither car could hold everyone. So, for safety's sake, we split up like we did for our day at the beach.

The girls packed up blankets, pillows, coloring books and crayons and off we went. Judy and I got to have a great deal of catch up chit chat and then we realized that we hadn't fixed our adrs for our revised plans - so I spent the better part of our trip on the phone. The call kept getting dropped so I ended up with four or five different Cast Members before I could get it changed!

We fielded lots of questions about what we would be doing from the back seat. Having never been to Sea World, Haille was unsure as to why we wouldn't be going to Disneyland again that day. After assuring her there were lots of rides and she'd get to see whales and dolphins up close, she was satisfied that her grandma knew what she was doing. It's always nice to have the official okay from the six year old! LOL Haille then said she wanted to do all the tall rides and the water rides, we promised we'd do our very best to get her on them, but just like Disney it was going to be crowded and we couldn't do fastpass. She said that would be fine. I'm telling you I have got her trained!

Sweet dreams, sweet princess!
Haille did great in the car, even though it was a long car ride and she was tired. She eventually decided to nap for most of the way down, so she missed out on the smoggy views, but I think it was the best thing for her as it was going to turn out to be an incredibly long day. If there's one thing this trip taught me - other than never go to SoCal in August - is that the girls can handle far more disappointment and frustration than adults can! LOL

The car ride was uneventful but long - nearly two hours that went on for eternity (I told you, the girls did better than I did) - and we finally made it to the gates of Sea World. Haille woke just in time to see the park come into view and she began to talk a mile a minute about all of the rides we were going to have to go on. She really wanted to do the water rides to get her gramma and aunt Toni wet. We felt the love... maybe...

After lathering up with the sunscreen (I was bright red all week) and going through the turnstiles, we grabbed some maps and tried to make a game plan. We headed off in the direction of the dolphins first to see if we could get the girls close enough to pet them. We got there and found a decent sized crowd, but the girls quickly found themselves close to the edge of the pool. After watching the trainers interact and explain some of the dolphin tricks/training/life they brought them up to the sides to begin petting.

Haille was jazzed to pet the Dolphin and get splashed by him!

This is where it got hysterical - at least for me. One of the tricks of the dolphin trade is, of course, splashing. So on command, the dolphin the girls were petting took his tail, scooped up a bunch of water and SPLASH! Direct hit in the face of both girls. Now Haille LOVED it, but Haille Elizabeth you may recall does not like getting her face wet. Her reaction was priceless - and a little sad. She wouldn't go back towards the pool for anything, even when the trainer brought the dolphin up to say sorry. Haille, of course, was right back up and checking out the dolphins.

With that traumatic event behind us, we grabbed a bite to eat befove we headed to watch Shamu rock it out in his arena in One Ocean. This show was so much better when the trainers were allowed in the water with the animals. I get that Shamu eating a trainer does not make for a great entertainment, but it's such a shame as you can tell just how much the show relied on that interaction.

Because of the girls' encounter with the dolphins they decided they did not want to be in the soak zone, so we headed way up the bleachers. One thing that the Orlando location has over San Diego is they cover their arenas so you are out of the sun. No such luck here. It was hot and just blah, but once Shamu and family came out you forgot how yucky it felt - and it was definitely cooler in SD than in Anaheim! Both girls were in awe of everything, and when Shamu came out to splash the crowd their jaws dropped! I wish I'd thought to get a picture of them because it was hysterical. Hailee looked on horrified and Haille was wishing she'd sat in the soak zone. The two couldn't be more different, but it's their differences that bring them together into a dynamic duo!

Had to use the long lens to get decent shots from our seats.
Once the show was over we split up to allow Haille to ride the water ride. It was a shorter version of Grizzly river rapids at Disneyland... and the wait was over an hour long, but little miss Haille didn't mind. She just kept reminding us that the lines moved faster than what the sign said they would. The little bugger was pretty spot on with that. Though, again, there was not enough covering and as such it was very hot in teh sun. We spent a lot of time taking turns putting my frozen water bottles on teh back of our necks and talking about anything other than the wait and the heat.

At one point a breeze blew by and we caught a horrible smell. Haille was very loud in voicing her concern over what could make such a disgusting smell and we pointed out a flock of flamingoes. She decided they were not good birds to have around because they stunk. This got a laugh from most of the people around us. We got about 5 minutes from the boats when the ride stopped for about twenty minutes. Our "luck" had followed us, but we decided to stick it out and made it down eventually.

Haille knew the ride would be worth the wait!
The ride is maybe 90 seconds, so that was disappointing, but Haille enjoyed it. She loved the idea that I would get soaked - and oh, did I get soaked. We all three did. Haille squealed in delight and laughed like a lunatic every time water came over the boat. The child is crazy! We got off the ride and went looking for a towel. Couldn't find one, but the heat dried us quickly enough.

We texted the other half of the group and planned to meet up with them at the tidal pool. Haille was all about touching and holding the different sea creatures. I went and got something cool to drink as we'd long ago run out of my water bottles waiting in line.

Judy went to find a bathroom so I was in charge of keeping Haille occupied. There was no need to worry, she was talking with the tide pool keepers and asking questions... and petting sea anenomeas. It's so funny to see such a girly girl be as into slimey animals as she is, but she never had a problem. She loved the tickling feeling of the star fish on her hand. And she was very interested to find out what each animal did and how it lived. She is such a learner and I hope she always keeps that interest in life and education - because she's brilliant (yes I am biased).

Haille was all about the tidal pools and their animals.
After we met up with the other half of the group I took off for a while by myself. I needed a break. I was hot, tired, and just... yeah. I wasn't interested in what the rest wanted to do and I was hoping to get to see some other parts of the park. So off I wandered. It was boring without the kid, but I needed the space. I finally found my way to the seals and sea lions, and realized the Clyde and Seymore show - so I texted Judy and held down some seats close to the action. It was considered a soak zone, so we split up. It was all a lie, though, we didn't even get near anyone getting wet. Such a bummer.

Haille, again, loved the show. Especially when Seymore was break dancing. Haille couldn't get over how silly the animals were. It was a short show - and it was cheesey - but it was nice to just sit with the sun going down. After that show we went to one last show - the Cirque de la Mer. This would become the highlight of the trip for most of us - especially Haille. She wanted to see it again, unfortunately we saw the last show (ever). It was humorous as well as impressive. You couldn't watch everything that was happening at once.

One thing the girls have in common - they love to SHOP!
After the show it was time for shopping. The girls were all about getting a lot of Sea World swag and gramma and grampa were all in for the shopping spree. We ended up in one of the bigger Shamu Shops. Gaylord and I went over to find out about this really cool picture op while the girls spent money.

We were all spent by then and so we got pizza in the park and then headed to the car. We had a two hour drive ahead of us, and another day at Disney the next day, and we needed to get back to the hotel. So no Shamu rocks for us or fireworks, but over all I think the girls had fun.

I can now cross going to the original Sea World off my list. I am still not sold on it - though San Diego is better than Orlando for some things. I'm just not into animal attractions like this. Disney's Animal Kingdom park fulfills my animal love far more, but I'm not anti Sea World. It's just not how I want to spend a day or two. Especially not in August (or June). But overall it was a great memory for the girls and that's what counts.

Next up - Day two at Disney which means neice and aunt time!

Thursday, October 4, 2012

WDW 2013: It's Official, We're Going!

We interupt the Disneyland 2012 recap to bring you this exciting (for me) tidbit on vacation plans for 2013!

Not that this was ever doubt, but it's finally *official* as I just (ok well I got busy doing other stuff so I didn't just get off the phone now) got off the phone. Even though dad hasn't put in for the time off yet, and we don't know some of the other details, I have us booked at the Art of Animation for October 2-12. Those dates will be played with, I'm sure, but it's nice to have a jumping off point.

I had another fantastic Cast Member help me book our vacation, and he gave me a heads up that he had a "good feeling" that we would be seeing some great discounts for when we would be travelling. I've seen others report when CMs give them the "insider info" and have it be wrong, so I'm not going to believe it till I see it/get it (I know that we may have to change resorts, too, to get them as AoA is not qualified currently for the discounts).

We'll be staying in the Cars themed Family Suite at the Art of Animation, with the Dining Plan and park hopper passes. We also have the Magical Express picking us up at the airport. Very excited! Ticker

Monday, October 1, 2012

Disneyland 2012: Heat Exhaustion and Princess Treatments (recap pt. 3)

Haille at the Bibbiddi Bobbiddi Boutique.
So, what was your first ride ever at Disney? For Haille it was Pirates of the Caribbean last year, me? I don't remember... it might have been PotC or it could have been Hailee's first ride, The Jungle Cruise. Once again Haille asked if things were real and we played the same game - it's all up to you to decide what's real. She came away believing the animals in the Jungle Cruise are real. (really, kid? really?!) We would come to find out in the next few rides that certain rides were not the best for Hailee. She is not the daredevel that Haille is and so we spent a lot of time all week seperated as the girls had very different ideas on what would be the most fun to do.

But, don't let the girl fool you (she did us) Haille decided she wanted to go on the Indiana Jones ride again. You know, the one with the snake. The one she said she didn't want to do again. I think she was worried she'd miss out somehow if she didn't do it, so off she went. We get in the car, it starts and both girls start to freak. So much for that idea! What was super "amusing" was after getting off the ride they stopped the sniffles and began arguing over who was more scared. Ok, girls...

Because the lines were soooooooooooo long, and it was sooooooooooooo hot we decided to get something to eat before we headed over to the castle where the girls would get their Princess on. We were unable to get a table inside so we were out in the sun eating some very warm food and just melting. I was not drinking enough water and it was really affecting my mood and my energy. (I was also coming down with a cold we'd find out later in the week.) We at least got to sit and decide our plan of action. We had about a half hour to kill before heading over to the castle so Haille, Judy and I went to the Haunted Mansion (Haille wanted to see her ghosts again) and Hailee, Aana and Gaylord went to Fantasyland where there were rides that she would enjoy.

Haille remembered a great deal about the Haunted Mansion and was so happy to have another ghost in her lap. After that and a round of "can we go right back on"s we headed over to visit the Fairy-Godmothers-In-Training for a little bit of magic. Haille had given Hailee the 411 on how the whole thing worked, and the girls worked hard on Aana to allow Hailee to have a bit of make up. So when they walked into the shop both girls knew what dress they wanted. They still looked at the other dresses (Haille was tempted to pick the Merida dress but decided it would be too hot to wear out in the park), but both chose Belle's ballgown. Haille'd decided this months in advance, so it was no surprise - especially since both listed Belle as their favorite.

Haille spent most of her time making sure the FGIT did everything just the same way she had it last year. Which was hysterical because when she told the FGIT that she'd been there the year before she also told her she didn't remember anything about it. Yeah, every time we turned around she was asking "aren't you going to do ____ next?" They had two FGITs doing the girls' hair and then one that flitted about and did their nails and make up and face jewels. She royally confused Haille, to the point where Haille clammed up a bit. She felt she was being made fun of (she wasn't) and that's one thing she will not tolerate. Poor kid, but she came around and it made for some memorable moments (of which I got on video)!

(video to come later)

Besties in the carriage, from their
Disney's Photopass Photoshoot.
After they got dolled up they got to have a photoshoot, and it was quite possibly the cutest thing ever. The only thing the girls didn't get were princess shoes as Haille had had a bad time with them last year, so she talked Hailee out of trying them on. Besides, I don't think they had them in one of the sizes we needed. Both looked so sweet and had a blast being the princesses that they were. Looking back at the photos I wish they'd gone barefoot in them just because it would've been more princessy than their walking shoes, but over all I just love them!

Once done with that we decided, again, to head in different directions for a bit to try and get on some rides. Haille wanted to go on Splash Mountain, but it was down for some reason so we went on Haunted Mansion - again - and then headed over to Pirates of the Caribbean. Afterwards we tried for Dole Whips but the machine was down. This was quickly becoming the trip of broken.

By this point I was wasted. It was just too hot! Haille was talking about the pool at the hotel since we weren't getting on any water rides anytime soon... and then I got very sick. It was obvious I was stupid and not drinking enough fluids of anykind... and I was overheated. We headed for the castle to hopefully catch the others and take a breathev from the park. At the very least I wanted to go home by myself and just cool off, but no one wanted me going alone. Judy and Haille got me a Mickey Bar while we waited for our meet up. I ate most of it before feeling worse.

Back at the hotel everyone went to the pool. I stayed in the room knocking back an amazing amount (for me) of water and checked my phone messages. I got one from a family member saying something I didn't understand and the one from my mom saying to give her a call that she didn't want to ruin my vacation but it was about gma. I told Gaylord who was on his way down to the pool, and he hurried down to tell Judy. I called my mother and found out g'ma had been admitted to the hospital and it wasn't looking good. That they didn't know all of what was going on, but that my dad was headed at that moment to Anchorage. I told her to keep me updated, but that I wouldn't be coming home any earlier than planned.

This is where I am going to just cut off and say I know this confused people, but the fact of the matter is (and was) that I needed to stay to bring Haille back home to Alaska. I know we *could* have cut her vacation short as well, but this was not her close family (technically not family at all though she spent most of her Christmases with her) and she wouldn't understand why she had to leave her gma for mine. I also would not have been able to do anything up there if I left and went home anyway. It was high drama enough as it was. This alienated me from family because *someone* was causing emotions to rise on both ends. It was a disgusting move on their part and one we're still healing from. I felt very much alone in California from then on, though Judy did her best to help me out. I vented long and hard to her all week as the text messages came in and my parents kept me in the loop.

Haille was so sweet to me all week and very understanding when I needed to talk with her gma alone. She kept my spirits up and I will forever greatful.

Not wanting to end on a downer note, but the next day was Sea World so we would be getting up fairly early so we went to bed early enough. THAT was an adventure, and will be my next update.

With that we wish you a good night, and we'll see you tomorrow...