Thursday, March 29, 2007

Disney 2007 Trip Report, Chapter 2

Previous chapter links, in case you would like to catch up: Disney 2007 Trip Report, Chapter 1.

March 14 (cont): Downtown Disney

I love Downtown Disney! It is one of my favorite places in the world to just go and hang out. I could sit and people watch for hours. The shopping is quite nice as well. But first things first: we have to find out how many days we have left on our multitude of old tickets (we had 5 between the three of us), so it's off to Guest Relations. Not much to do in this mostly-empty room, so Luke amused himself by playing in one of the photo booths. Every time he pushed a button, it reacted (by telling him to put in money! LOL), so he thought this was great fun.

He cried when we were finished; he didn't want to leave the booth. But we could smell his diaper from outside (you couldn't have done that 30 minutes ago while we were still at the hotel?), so we needed to find the closest bathroom. To my great shock, there was no baby changing station in the women's room. This is Disney, overrun with children! How can there *not* be a baby changing station? Turns out it was in the "companion" bathroom, which was hot as blue blazes! (It was clear and a good 80+ degrees outside, and significantly warmer inside.) We get Luke up on the platform, open up the diaper backpack, and discover NO diapers! (Bet you were wondering why I was detailing his diaper changes, weren't you? No more after this, I promise.) We had changed him twice from the backpack, and we had not refilled it at the hotel. We were now faced with a *huge* poopy diaper, plenty of wipes, and no diaper to put him in. Great. Thankfully, we discovered the lack of clean diaper before we took the full one off, but that didn't solve the problem. But wait, this is Disney! Surely there is a better solution than having to get back in the car and go back to the hotel. There have to be diapers *somewhere*.

So I leave them in the bathroom and go on the great diaper quest. As I leave the bathroom, there is a surf-type shop (bathing suits and such) on the left and the toy shop (Once Upon a Toy Story) on the right. I figure the toy shop is my best bet. Even if they don't have them, they probably know who does. The first cast member I ask does not know, but she takes me to a manager, who points me to (you guessed it) the surf shop across the way. All you have to do is ask at the counter. Turns out they have an entire little kit made up in various sizes: two diapers, two diaper disposal bags, a small pack of 8 wipes, and a small tube of diaper rash cream. And only $4. All things considered, not bad at all. Back to the bathroom, we get Luke all changed, only to have DH start to feel sick and light-headed from the heat. He did fine once we got out into the breeze, but it scared us for a bit. To kill some time (and to wander around in some air conditioning), we hit the toy store.

Now, we realize how dangerous it is to take a 2 year old into a humongous toy store, but how could we not? It is one of DH's favorite places to shop, as they have one of the best selections of Star Wars toys we have ever seen. The shop has four major sections: the classic toy section, the stuffed toy section, the "boy" section, and the "girl" section. We make it through the first two sections fine, with Luke only picking up one of the Buzz Lightyear light-up spinning whirly-gig things. If that is the only thing we have to buy to leave, we're doing good. But the whole reason we were in this store is for the next section. But perhaps it will be okay. We walk in and immediately look off to the far right corner where the Star Wars toys used to live. Instead, we are greeted with the new Pirates of the Caribbean section.

Not to worry, though. The Star Wars section is now to our left, and it has a new feature, much to my chagrin. There is a huge set of bins, 15 feet long and about 8 feet high, featuring four 27" flat screen televisions, and topped with a huge, swinging.... light saber! It is a Build Your Own Light Saber Station. Luke and DH are still distracted with the Buzz section and dinosaur section on the right side of the store. As soon as DH takes a step towards the left, I frantically start motioning them off. If we can just get through here without Luke seeing.... But DH is looking for something specific, so he asks me to go over there and check for it while he entertains Luke. Nope, not there, and I turn to tell him that, only to find him standing right behind me, and Luke starts pitching a fit. "What exactly did you think I meant when I said 'keep him away'?" His defense? "I didn't see it." HUH?!?! You have got to be kidding me. How could you miss it?!! Obviously, Luke now wants one, but he is frustrated with finding them in pieces (too young to get the whole "build your own" concept). This is actually good for us. It means we can entice him with one of the pre-made ones they have that are conveniently half the price of the build your own (but still twice the price of the identical model we have at home already). So placated with the pre-built model, we run into the "pink section" to check out. Luke was quite upset and distraught (tired and a little hungry by this point), and really didn't want to hand it to the woman to be rung up. And to avoid more hissy fits, we decide to go out the back door instead of wading through the "danger zone" again.

But now we have a new problem. He wants to walk around with the blade of his new light saber extended. Um, no. Too many people, too little judgement, too tired, just too much potential for disaster. So again, much fussing (and a small snack), but he handled it better than we could have hoped. We settled on clipping the light saber to his waistband (with the convenient built-in belt clip). If we can just keep him from breaking down again before dinner, we'll be doing well. So, we take the now more-or-less calmed child around the corner of the building, only to discover one of those flat fountains. You've seen them, the ones where the little jets of water pop right up out of the concrete. I'd forgotten they had one (we don't go that way often), and Luke LOVES water. So with all of the kids running around playing in the water, we have to tell him that no, he can't. (I know, that makes me a terrible mother since I know he would have had an absolute blast, but if I'd remembered it was there, I would have come prepared with extra clothes and shoes and such.) And to make matters worse, there is a kid across the fountain from us having an imaginary light saber battle, swinging his newly built sword and jumping and spinning and everything. You have got to be kidding me! Yes, Luke, I know that kid is playing with his, but he's 8 and has better control and whatnot (though had I been his mother, he would not have been being as wild with it as he was), and you still can't play with yours. Took us about 20 minutes and serious negotiations to get around the fountain both with a collapsed light saber and a completely dry child, but we eventually prevailed (with the help of a lollipop (a rare treat for him) I had stashed in the diaper backpack for just such emergencies).

It's now close to 4, but no adult is really hungry yet. We know we want to eat at the Rainforest Cafe, though, and they usually have a wait, so we head on over there. I check with the "purple elephant," and they say there is no wait, so we kill some time by looking at the exotic birds on display, chatting with the handler, and Luke is fascinated by the animatronic crocodile in the water. We hang out until about 4:30, at which point we discover that there is now a 30 minute wait! How did *that* happen? Sheesh! We actually only waited about 20 minutes, and we kept Luke mostly entertained with the fish and everything. He also got to experience one of their "thunderstorms" from outside to decide if it would scare him (it didn't, but the talking tree sure did!). Mom got the macadamia-encrusted tilapia, DH and I split the turkey Caesar wrap, and Luke had french fries (what else). If you look carefully, you can see the infamous light saber in the third and fourth photos.

We were back at the hotel around 6, got all checked in to our suite and all of the luggage sorted out, and got the room set up. You enter the suite in the living room portion, with the sleeper sofa, the television, and the door to the bathroom. Through another door is the bedroom (which does not connect to the bathroom) with a king size bed. We let Luke run around the room in his jammies while we figured out where to put everything (note to self: take outlet safety covers for next hotel stay!). After much debate and deliberation (and putting together the port-a-crib, which took a while), we finally realize the best arrangement is for Luke to sleep in the crib in the bedroom, and for us to sleep on the pull-out couch. No one slept for even a few minutes on the king bed the whole time we were there! But it kept Luke behind a closed door and away from all of the hallway noise (which was quite considerable). It also meant that DH and I could take a shower or leave the room if we wished. Still felt pretty silly, though.

After getting Luke in bed just after 7, DH and I sat down and did the math on what kind of tickets we wanted to buy. We only had one day each on our old tickets, which was not going to be enough. Once we got the whole new ticketing system sorted out and crunched the numbers (it should not take 2 engineers an hour to figure this out!), we decided that we didn't want to wait in line Thursday morning, so DH stayed behind with the sleeping child to do his baseball draft while Mom and I headed back to Downtown Disney (and guest relations) to get tickets. We also decided to scout out The World of Disney (the largest Disney store in the world) to see what they had. After all, if you can buy it at Downtown, there is no sense in purchasing the same item in the parks and having to lug it around all day. I picked up a shirt for Luke to wear Thursday and a set of blinky ears for myself (many of you know I collect things that blink; how could I NOT have a set of mouse ears that blink?!). A few other this and that's, but we did really well, and we were back at the hotel by 10. (BTW, we got a 10% discount at the World of Disney store with our AAA card. If they don't offer it to you, ask!) Mom went to bed, DH and I prepped the backpacks for a full day at the parks (including *4* diapers), and turned in.

Tune in tomorrow for the rundown on our first day at the parks: The Magic Kingdom! Link: Disney 2007 Trip Report, Chapter 3


  1. Oh man! You're making me want to be in Disney. NOW!
    Glad you got the diaper situation handled. That would have me so stressed.

  2. You're a Disney expert and you don't know about package pick-up?!?! You can buy anything anywhere in the parks and NOT have to lug it around all day. Just tell the cashier you want package pick-up and you may pick it up later that day near the front of the park. i believe they even have it at Downtown Disney! It is wonderful! Not that going to the World of Disney is a bad thing either. lol

  3. Not only did we take outlet covers, but now that our kids are bigger, we've replaced them with night lights. Always have one in our "bathroom bag" that we take on all trips. We're eating at Rainforest Cafe on our upcoming trip. Can't wait!

  4. UGH! Enduring and navigating any potential or actual child meltdowns is my biggest worry about our upcoming trip. Glad to know I'm not the only one dealing with that sort of thing. I guess Disney will be full of like-minded parents on that front! :)

    Maybe I'm a little insane, but I have my packing list up in Word and I'm adding items to it based on things your trip report is reminding me of! Like extra clothes for Katie to carry in that backpack of hers!


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