Saturday, June 18, 2011

disney: final day

The last day of vacation is always kind of depressing, but we had a full schedule planned on our last day, so there wasn't really any time to mope. After Jacob went to an Indy car race here in town a couple of months ago -- and scored the autographs of some of the drivers -- he became quite the autograph hound, sending autograph requests (along with self-addressed stamped envelopes!) to the Indy drivers' racing teams, the Star Wars production company, etc. So when he found out that there was a chance to get (1) autographs of (2) Star Wars characters, during Star Wars weekends, well, it was all just too good to be true.

Unfortunately, to be assured of getting an autograph, you needed a fastpass, and to get a fastpass, you had to start lining up at the crack of dawn. But there was no way we could miss what to Jacob was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. So we decided that David and Jacob would walk to Hollywood Studios to line up in the morning, and I'd stay back at the hotel with the girls and start packing and getting ready to check out.

David and Jacob started their walk over to Studios around 6:00 a.m. I was able to get some live reports from the field:

Apparently there were massive crowds of (mostly adult) Star Wars fanatics forming five different lines for each of the five Star Wars actors who were making appearances that day. Boba Fett and a Storm Trooper patrolled the roof:

After some hemming and hawing, Jacob finally decided that he wanted meet Boba Fett and (the voice of) Obi-Wan Kenobi. After a couple of hours of waiting, Jacob and David emerged with two coveted fastpasses which ensured him of his autographs.

His first fastpass time was at 10-something, so it didn't really make sense for them to come back to the hotel. Studios ended up opening the park early (but didn't advertise this to the public) so Jacob and David enjoyed a solid hour of riding the most popular attractions at Studios with no wait time. Jacob took the opportunity to ride his first loop coaster:

Jacob rides a loop coaster at age 8, and here I am 38 and I STILL have yet to ride a loop coaster (but I'm really okay with that).

After three rides on the Rockin' Roller Coaster and another trip to the Tower of Terror, it was time to meet James Arnold Taylor, the voice of Obi-Wan Kenobi (and Plo Koon, and an evil spy droid, and Johnny Test, and the new Fred Flinstone -- this guy is a serious voice actor with an impressive resume):

This guy was great. Jacob said that he would start talking to Jacob in a normal voice, then he'd switch to his Obi-Wan voice, then flip through Jacob's Star Wars encyclopedia (he signed Jacob's book at every character he'd played) and would use his voice for those characters; then he'd suddenly break into his Johnny Test voice, and ended with "Yabba Dabba Do!" in his Fred Flinstone voice. David said that the guy seemed really happy to actually be meeting a kid for a change.

The boys made it back to the hotel right at 11, our check out time. We had our bags held for the afternoon while we walked over to Epcot. We had already seen most of what we wanted to see there, so we had no specific agenda other than to get lunch and walk around for a bit. David and Jacob would have to go back to Studios for a 2-something autograph session.

We started out with a great lunch in the Biergarten Restaurant in Germany. I know that David appreciated a nice cold beer after the miles and miles of walking he had already done so far that day in the name of Star Wars.

David and Caroline danced to the oompa music provided by the lederhosen-clad musicians:

After lunch the boys basically had to start the long walk back to Studios. The girls and I visited with some princesses.

Elizabeth hugging Snow White:

Snow White asking about Naked Baby Doll:

Girls & Snow White:

The girls then set out on another Kim Possible mission, this one in Norway. Here they are receiving their mission:

Reading up on the next mission:

The best part had to be when they received instructions to go up to the cast member working Maelstrom and say "Vikings are all the rage!" Elizabeth delivered the line with great feeling. Right on cue, the Norwegian cast member replied with a hearty "Yes they are!" and handed her a card that provided clues for her next mission.

Meanwhile, the boys were over at Studios meeting Jeremy Bulloch, a.k.a. Boba Fett:

We met up again in Epcot, and I think that everyone was fully and totally spent by then. It was time to work our way back and start the trip home. But not before making some phone calls in England:

When we got back into the hotel, the kids and I sat down and watched some old Mickey Mouse cartoons while David worked on getting the car packed. Our plan was to drive a few hours that night and finish the trip home the next day. When the valets brought the car up, we noticed our flatter-than-flat front left tire. And there aren't tons of tire shops open in Orlando after 5:00 on Saturday, go figure. We finally located a Pep Boys that was open, so David took off to deal with that, and I took the kids outside to hang out for a couple of hours. At first, things were tense (there may or may not have been dramatic declarations that "our vacation is RUINED!!!" by one or more of my children), but I pointed out that things could be worse, and they could be sitting in a hot waiting room at Pep Boys flipping through three year old copies of Car & Driver instead of eating burgers at Hurricane Hana's while overlooking the lagoon. Eventually, food and some rest drove out the demons, and the kids ended up having a {bonus!} ball playing on the beach.

You can count on Disney to stock their beaches with a nice supply of baby ducklings:

And bunnies, for that matter:

I couldn't get these kids off the beach to look for David (he had a dead cell phone, so he couldn't call me when he was back). After their sand aversion at the beach last year, this gave us hope for next year's beach vacation.

What started out as a major nuisance turned into the perfect way to end our vacation (at least for the four of us not at Pep Boys):

These posts have been almost as tiring as the trip itself (and almost as much fun). I really wanted to get all of this down before the memories started to fade. I hope that there will be many other fun Disney trips with our family, but I will always remember this one -- our first Disney trip with all three kids -- as the best.


Mom to 3 C's said...

Glad you took the time to share all your wonderful photos and memories. It was fun to vacation vicariously with you!

We're waiting for the whiney stage to pass before planning a Disney trip...will that ever happen?

Cathy said...

Thanks Gina! If we waited for the whiney stage to pass here, we might never have gone. :-) I know you all will have a GREAT time whenever you make the trip!!

Pamela said...

Well, I am almost a month late in reading this post, but here I am! I alway thoroughly enjoy your posts, Cathy. These Disney posts were great! I loved the part about the autographs and the guy who seemed excited about signing for a kid. Probably very true!! Thanks for letting me read all about it. ;-)