The Big Disney Vacation, Day Two

We woke to rain, but did that deter us a bit?  No, Dear Readers, it did not.  Water may have been falling from the sky, but it was near 80°, so we’re good.

Mr. Chili and I got up pretty early, had a smattering of breakfast in the apartment, then headed to the front of the resort to catch the rental car shuttle to pick up a car.  While we were waiting, Reggie introduced himself to us; he’s a new front-of-house manager and stopped by where we were sitting to ask us how we were and if we needed anything.  We ended up having a lovely conversation with this gentleman who, it turns out, started his career as an industrial engineer and has worked all over the world.  He got his Disney job because someone he worked with had a job at Disney and recommended him.  Mr. Chili commented that he’d love to be an Imagineer, but he’s heard that the only way to get in is to know someone, to which Reggie replied, “well, NOW you know someone!” and promised to get in touch with us before we leave.  I’m strangely excited by this.

We picked up our car then headed back to the apartment to pick up the girls who, by this point, had pried themselves out of bed and were ready to face the world.  As it was still raining, we figured we’d get some errands out of the way, so we found a Target (to get Bean a new swimsuit; she’d outgrown her suit from last year and a couple of things we forgot to pack), then found a AAA office to buy our tickets for Universal.

By the time we made it back to the apartment, it was lunchtime, so I popped a pizza in the oven while the family goofed around on Pottermore to find out which house they belong to.  I haven’t been able to get the thing to work properly (I was using my iPad; I’ll try again with my computer), but it’s no matter; we’re all really, really excited about tomorrow’s trip.

Once we’d finished lunch, the rain stopped, so we walked down to the boat dock to catch the water taxi to Downtown Disney and our afternoon at Disney Quest.

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I wasn’t sure I was really going to enjoy this afternoon.  I’m not much for arcades; I’m kind of lousy at video games and all the noise and flashing lights give me headaches (to say nothing of the screaming kids), so imagine my surprise when we emerged a number of hours later with plans to return after we’d found something upon which to nosh.

Our afternoon started with a trip to the Pirates of the Caribbean game, which, again, I thought I’d hate.  I’ve got a pretty study constitution, but motion odyssey rides heeb me out; I get mildly nauseated and disoriented and vaguely headachy and I don’t feel right for a while afterward, so I wasn’t really keen about doing this game, but I figured I’d give it a go and see what happened.  It turned out that I needn’t have worried; though it’s a 3D ride, the motion of the thing is entirely manageable (it has to be, as you stand for the entire experience) and the graphics weren’t jerky or flashy.  The point of the adventure is that you and your “crew” are out to plunder rival pirate ships and collect their gold then, at the end, to try to keep your gold when you’re attacked by the ghost pirate ship.

Punk steered the ship and Bean, Dad and I manned the cannon and we won!

From there, we kind of split up and did our own thing.  Mr. Chili and I found the “classic games” sections and consumed unknown quantities of time playing Pac Man, Frogger, Asteroids, Centipede, Qbert, and Galaga.  After a bit, I wandered off to watch the Buzz Lightyear bumper cars, then found a fun video bowling game at which I got pretty good before I realized that I was starting to get hungry.

We didn’t have a plan for lunch, but I knew that if I didn’t get something to eat, I’d start getting cranky.  I found the Punk and she and I agreed to split a monster chocolate peanut butter cupcake; and when I say “monster,” I mean it.  We ended up quartering the damned thing and making it a family snack.  It was delicious, but I shudder to think about how many calories are in one (or how many people think they’re single-serving).

Properly sugared, we headed back in to do a bit more exploring.  The girls and I did Aladdin’s Magic Carpet ride (which was disappointing… and mildly nauseating) and then we found a four-person air hockey table (WIN!  We love air hockey!).  I played some Tetris while Mr. Chili wandered off to play Blazing Aces.  After that, we figured we’d head out into Downtown Disney for a bit, so we found the girls (playing Guitar Hero) and then perused the shops.  We moseyed through a couple of really interesting gift shops, a surprisingly small candy shop (really; it was tiny.  I expected much more) and then spent about 15 minutes in a hat store.  We determined that Mr. Chili is really a baseball cap kind of guy, that Punk looks good in only the expensive hats, that Bean looks good in damned near ANY hat, and that I have an enormous noggin, even leaving my humid hair out of the equation; there were exactly two hats that I tried that fit, and neither of them was particularly flattering.

From there, we walked around a bit more and decided that we were getting genuinely hungry (the cupcake having been yummy but not especially nutritious), so we made our way toward the Earl of Sandwich for a bit of a snack.  When we got there, though, Mr. Chili had second thoughts; we have some sandwich fixings in the apartment and he was stressing about buying sandwiches out when we could just make them at home.  We decided against walking back to Disney Quest and headed for the water taxi to take us back to the West End of Downtown Disney while Mr. Chili reconsidered how he wanted to negotiate the dinner question.

In the end, he decided against going back to the apartment; we were hungry AND we wanted to go back to do more Disney Quest, and going back would have eaten up more time than he wanted to spend.  We stopped at the Smokehouse next to the House of Blues and got ourselves a basket of barbecue chicken nachos which we split among the four of us (Mr. Chili noting that, as with the cupcake earlier in the day, the nachos were likely intended to be a single person’s fare).  They were yummy, though I would have liked a bit more bbq sauce.

From there, Mr. Chili and Bean wanted to go back to Disney Quest and Punk wanted to go to Basin to get some pretty stinky bath stuff.  I agreed to walk back with her (forgetting just how long a walk it was), so she and I headed off.  It turned out to be a lovely bit of time with my elder daughter, though; we chatted as we threaded our way through the crowds, then spent a fair bit of time (not to mention a fair bit of money) getting the aforementioned pretty stinkies; Punk got a tube of bath bombs (we have a giant jacuzzi in the apartment that she wants to make use of) and a couple of jars of salt scrub (one, believe it or not, for Mr. Chili who tried a scrub when he was here a few weeks ago for his rocket launch and decided he really liked it.  He brought us back last night after Ghirardelli’s to use it again, and I paid attention to which one he liked).

On our way back to Disney Quest to reunite with our family, we stopped to listen to some of the street performers, and this one caught my attention.  His name is Nicholas Marks, and I knew that I wanted to stop and listen even before we rounded the corner to his spot.

He’s quite the performer, but more than that, I LOVE the music.  I bought one of his CDs right then and there and would have stayed for the rest of the show except that I knew that Mr. Chili and Bean would be wondering where we were, so we continued on and made our way back to the arcade.

In the whole afternoon, I’d never quite made it to the top floor, so that’s where we headed upon arrival.  I texted Mr. Chili to let him know where we were and then spent (again, unknown amounts of) time playing pinball (gods, but I love pinball!) and skee-ball and more Pac Man.  After a bit, Mr. Chili and Bean found us, we goofed around upstairs for a bit more, then we decided we wanted to do the Pirate game again, so we took the elevator to the first floor and found that there was almost no line.  We got right in, we were put in a different program (same story, different ships and, I think, different port) and we won again!  We make a good crew.

The grown ups were done at this point, but the girls still wanted to play for a bit, so we left them and made our way out through the gift shop, through the Cirque de Soleil gift shop across the street, then found our way back to the water taxi to the resort.  It was a lovely, quiet ride back.  When we got to port, I noticed that the poolside movie was Lilo and Stitch – and I LOVE Lilo and Stitch – so Mr. Chili suggested that we stay and watch the rest of it.

As we were walking home, we saw the girls’ water taxi float by, so we waved and blew kisses and enjoyed some cookies while we waited for them to walk back to the apartment, which brings me to now.  I’m off to bed; we’ve got Universal lined up for tomorrow and it’s going to be a big day.

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