04 September, 2011

Between Vacations

I spent August 24-27 in a whirlwind of family fun.  Of course, I'm a terrible blogger and didn't bother to record anything of note at the time.  Now on the eve of another "memory maker," I'm going to throw up a random list of things I want to remember about how wonderful it was to be with everyone again.
August 24 - evening - dinner at Downtown Disney with Rose, Gary, Mark, Dawn, and Scott.  Good food and wine, followed by a trip to Goodings to pick up ponchos for the tourists!

August 25 - Magic Kingdom with a ton of people! 

Our original plan was to meet up with Dawn and Naomi and their respective spouses and children, sign them in, and go off with just Dawn and Mark.  Then 7 others showed up, including Jenn and her family, so we stuck with the crew long enough to ride Pirates (not a good idea with a tiny baby...she wailed through the whole thing, and everyone on the boat was throwing me the "bad mommy" look because I was holding her!), Hall of Presidents, and Haunted Mansion.  By the way, the new and improved Hitchhiking Ghosts at the end of Haunted Mansion blew my freaking mind! I want to go back again and again and again!  After that, we bailed on the family fun and headed home... with a Dole Whip pit stop.  Mmm...magical Magic Kingdom treat...

August 26 - Happy Birthday Scott!
The day started with a little birthday brunch for my halfway-to-70-year-old.  Actually, it started as a little brunch and ended up being me feeding 11 people and trying to keep the stress away from Scott.  Note: I've never even really participated in Thanksgiving dinner (besides the pies).  I was so proud of myself - sticky buns, a bread casserole (with pancetta...that I fried...with splattering oil), individual chicken pot pies... and the only thing we didn't do from scratch was mashed sweet potatoes from our local favorite BBQ place.

Then we napped.  I needed it!

The evening was spent in celebration of Aunt Mary and Uncle Richard's 50th anniversary. In addition to the planned activities - dinner, musical performances by some grand kids, and a DVD of 1950's home movies that made me laugh and cry - we brought a little entertainment of our own.

I bought these 2 11x17 picture frames on clearance a few months ago, for the purpose of using them as silly photo props.  I brought them with me and stashed them in a corner until I saw a photo op.  As soon as the frames came out, they were like catnip for the kids, even the camera-shy ones.  People were squeezing as many faces as they could, going 3D and popping out of the frames, and generally laughing and having a good time.  I got major brownie points for bringing them along!

Alicia as Richard, and Richard as Mary
I was also a (small) part of the night's most fun surprise: "Flat Mary" and "Flat Richard" - customized masks of their faces, perfect for taking even more ridiculous pictures!

After the evening's fun and frolic, we asked everyone to take a pair of masks home with them, and to take pictures where they live.  Our plan is to create a travel diary of The Adventures of Richard and Mary.  I hope people remember to take pictures!

August 27 - Another day of Park Hopping, this time with Rose and Gary, Laura and Richard, Alicia, Alex, and Megumi.  We did almost all the "E-Ticket" rides at the Studios and at Magic Kingdom, got caught in a monsoon, and had lunch at Prime Time Cafe.  Some of the highlights for me:

Laura and Richard's 10th Anniversary Hoop-La!  We got them bride and groom mouse ears and anniversary buttons. Everywhere we went, people congratulated them.  They got up on stage for the Indiana Jones show, got shout-outs from parade performers, and generally got a lot more attention than they were probably comfortable with.  It was awesome!

The new Star Tours was so much better than I expected it to be!  There were 9 of us, which apparently qualified us for our own private ride.  I was the "rebel spy," (you'll understand when you ride it) and Alex was yelling back at the screen that he wanted to turn me in.  Our tour saw Chewbacca, Yoda, and JarJar Binks.  The 3D is great, and the simulator motion matches the image on the screen pretty seamlessly.

Riding Big Thunder Mountain with Alicia and literally laughing until I started to sob.  Because the lap bar was set to my legs and she's so much skinnier than I am, she got tossed around a lot.  The first dip, I thought she might fall out.  From then on, I just couldn't stop laughing.  By the time we pulled into the station, I had tears streaming down my face. When I recounted the story to Scott, people were looking at me to see who the sobbing freak was!

Laughing to tears again on Space Mountain. I was in the front of our rocket, and every time we went through a jarring turn on sharp drop Alex would yell "woah, Space," as though he was trying to get a horse to stop. It just got funnier and funnier.  Honestly, I can't remember the last time I had so much fun on Space Mountain!

Having great seats for both the Electric Light Parade and Wishes. Thanks to this, I was able to learn about what I'm now calling the "shaky shaky" feature on my camera and get some killer pictures of both without a flash.

And of course, we brought Flat Mary & Rich along for some killer photos "where Magic lives," but I won't be previewing those quite yet.

Driving home after a marathon day in the parks, with sore wet feet and total exhaustion setting in, it was hard for me to not get emotional.  I miss them all already - not just the ones I had a chance to "play" with, but the ones I only saw at the anniversary party.  I met some new extended family members, made a baby cry in terror, and took a zillion pictures (of which, about 50 came out).  We had a fabulous time - even better than we were anticipating - and look forward to seeing everyone again.

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