Down time day. The Theules had used up all the Disney ticket days, so the Bernards went to Epcot again for the early part of the day. For an early dinner we all went to the Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue at Fort Wilderness Campgrounds. We had a great dinner and a great show. It was a good event with which to end the day and the vacation.
Hello Magic Kingdom. Toby had been watching the weather forecasts all week, and this was the day that was consistently listed as thunderstorms/showers. When we entered the park, it was a cloudy chilly day, but there was no rain. We did a bunch of rides with the Fast Passes and did some walk ons. We went over to the Snow White 7 Dwarves ride and saw that it was an 80 minute wait time, but we used our special Fast Passes to walk on, twice. Since this park has some really good kid stuff that only Roly would be interested in, Jan spent most of the day with the olders while Toby and I stayed with Roly. Roly got selected by Captain Jack Sparrow to be a pirate apprentice. We came together for meals but then split up again. At about 6p, it finally started to lightly rain. I went with Jan and the olders to Big Thunder Mountain while Toby took Roly to some more kids rides. On the way out of the park, Jan saw that the Country Bear Jamboree show was starting very soon, so we detoured. It was fun watching this ‘flashback’ show because it was a staple of every Disneyland trip as a kid.
Roly had pooped out very quickly, so Toby took him back to the resort. However, she had lost her room key and couldn’t get in with Roly. She was super tired but had to wait while we drove back from the park. It was not a good experience for her.
Epcot. This is definitely a 2-day park. There is so much to see here, but not a lot of rides. We got into the park right away and did all the Fast Pass stuff that Toby had planned for us. We had some evening things to do (Dive Quest for me and Toby and the Fireworks show for everyone), so the middle of the day was open. We all elected to go home and take naps to be extra refreshed for the evening. It was a good decision. At 5p, Toby and I went back to Epcot to do our scuba dive in the Living Seas aquarium. It was an hour long ‘back stage’ tour of the aquarium facilities (6+ million gallons of water). Then a 40-minute dive in the tank that was 200+ feet long. It was a great experience. Jan brought the kids over to the glass and they watched us swim around for a few minutes. It was very fun.
At the start of the Fireworks show, we had a great location. We were enjoying some big explosions when a large piece of expended cardboard firework canister came down and hit Roly in the face. There was a Disney employee nearby who saw what happened and went right into action. Roly wasn’t visibly injured although he said that the cardboard was hot when it hit him. We had a couple of managers come over to fill out the incident reports. Toby and Roly and the managers went inside a store to get the information recorded, and to help Roly calm down, they gave him a marshmallow treat. When the rest of the kids saw this (from outside the store), they began scheming how they could be injured to get some swag. We had to wait for a higher level manager to come over, and so all the kids were offered soda and other sugar snacks to pass the time. This incident was a great example of the premium quality of Disney employees and the whole Disney experience. The people involved were over the top excellent. They were very conscientious of asking about the welfare of the entire group. They were working hard to make sure that this negative incident didn’t ruin our whole Disney experience. To that end, when they asked Toby if there was anything they could get us, she said that we didn’t have any Fast Passes to the Snow White 7 Dwarves ride. They gave us two special slips of paper that gave our whole party 2 FP trips to any ride in any park. Not that I would wish my son to get hit in the face with Fireworks debris again, but I appreciate how much Disney worked to ‘make it right’. In the end, Roly was fine.
Back to Disney. Today was spent at Disney Hollywood Studios. Toby had done a ton of research and planned out our park days to give us the most efficient time. In the 30 days before our trip, she had organized our Fast Passes to get us on the best rides with the least amount of waiting in line. The only ride she was not able to get us FPs for was the Snow White 7 Dwarves ride at Magic Kingdom. Those Fast Passes were already completely given out! The Rock N Roll roller coaster was a FP ride we had that Roly was too short to ride on. We asked how to do the switch with him, and we were given an extra FP ticket for the waiting rider. It turned out that this FP was good all day (not just the 1 hour window) and was good for 3 riders! Max didn’t feel good and dropped out of line, and the Ride Operator gave him another FP ticket. So we now had 2 switched FP tickets which was enough for most of our group to ride again. Woo Hoo! We then began dragging Roly all over to get these cool Fast Passes.
I rode Tower of Terror with the entire Bernards family, but none of my family would join me. Toby really wanted to see the Fantasia light / fireworks show, but we were late to it. She ended up getting a pretty good seat, but the rest of the Theules had horrible seats. The Bernards opted to do another ride on Tower of Terror. Nathan got separated from them and ended up waiting at our reunion spot. Kudos to him for waiting 30 minutes alone.
The anti-Disney day. Mr. Kelly McGuire happened to be in Florida with a broken plane, so he had the day off and drove up to Orlando to visit. We all went to Gatorland in the morning and saw some great shows. Max was called on stage and held a huge python with a couple of other people. He was described by the presenter as ‘the kid with the high socks’. Lucy and Roly also held the python for a picture. Nate was pulled from the audience to pick out the ‘gator that would be wrestled for the Gator wrasslin’ show. Squirt was about 8 feet long and the wrassler said that he was one of the largest in the pit. Also, Nate got to pose on the back of Squirt for a photo op. Ga
After lunch we went out to Wild Willy’s Airboat Tours for a ride in a flat-bottomed airboat. We 9 were in our own airboat and the Captain did a great job showing us some of the nature of central Florida. Roly had a hard time finding the alligators in the water. At one point he was very frustrated and said “I only see rocks”. A few seconds later he exclaimed, “Hey, that rock is moving!” After that, he seemed to do OK with gator spotting. We also saw a bald eagle perched high in a tree.
For all of our transportation, we had been utilizing Lyft and Uber. With 8 people in our group, we always needed two vehicles, but they were never more than 10 minutes apart. Kelly had rented a car for his drive and so the Bernards rode with him during the day. The Theules used Lyft to get to Wild Willy’s, but didn’t discover that Wild Willy’s was outside of the Uber/Lyft pick up area until we were ready to head back. We all 8 passengers piled into Kelly’s Nissan Altima sedan for a ride back into the ‘pickup zone’. Kelly dropped us at the very edge of the zone and then left to catch his flight. It was quite an adventure and everything worked out. It was funny to be on the corner of a highway with a stroller and a bunch of kids, waiting for 2 different cars to pick us up.