I learned a few things during the past 72 hours.
1. NEVER forget to bring your sunscreen into a theme park. It is a seven mile hike back to the car and the price of sunscreen in the park is a 300% mark-up from even the most expensive stores.
2. Shamu IS just as big as he seems. And his babies…adorably massive.
3. Kids pee in the pool at hotels. Then they tell you they did it. People flee. (And Alex wasn’t the one who peed and told, which made it SO much worse).
4. Kids CAN skip regularly scheduled naps and stay up late when they are constantly entertained, swimming in pools, watching dolphins, or being bribed with expensive toys at themed restaurants.
5. I am no longer young enough to enjoy spinny rides. I’m not sure when it happened, but sometime in the last three years I got old. I’m pissed.
6. Rooms on the 14th floor with a balcony are ONLY cool before you have kids. Once you have kids you barricade the sliding glass doors with coffee tables because you are convinced that the balcony is a death-trap. We went on the balcony for exactly four minutes while Alex napped. We saw sea world from the balcony. We took one picture. We went back in for fear of being caught by Alex who would then think balconies were cool and fun. Here is the proof we went out there. Once.
That is the short version of our trip.
Here is a full version.
We left Thursday morning and came home a few hours ago. Alex is tucked into her own bed. Mike has sought solace in the woods. I think he needed to wash the smell of city-living off of him with a good dose of camp fire and bug spray.
We took Alex to Orlando to visit Sea World. She was in LOVE with the dolphins (next time we plan ahead and schedule a chance to actually feed them).
Turtle Trek was a HUGE hit. She adored the sea turtles and we got some great photos (on the camera…will be downloaded tomorrow, have patience). Watching her face light up as she watched these hundred year old turtles swim was such a fantastic experience to have as a parent. She took delight in everything she saw. I haven’t ever heard her giggle as much as I did on this short trip (which makes me realize that I don’t give her enough chances to just be silly without an agenda).
Alex was awesome at standing in lines…but the longest one was 15 minutes. I am not about to delude myself into thinking that an hour long line would be as successful. At one point in the longest line (15 minutes), Alex made a frienenemy and the two little girls were fighting over who would put their hand on a specific part of a railing. Granted, there were eight thousand other railings all around them, but THIS spot on THIS railing was the holy-grail of spots and they both HAD to have it as theirs. It was intense. AND, there was a language barrier and the other little girl and her family spoke no English. So, they were arguing over a spot in different languages, but their body language said it all. Then, when it was time to get on the ride and they had to separate into different cars, they didn’t want to leave each other. Insanity! The other parents were just as confused as we were.
Alex got to see Shamu and baby (name?). Alex saw manatees, flamingos, dolphins, alligators, countless fish, stingrays, and tons of ducks. What did she want to see? A hippopotamus. What does Sea World not have? You guessed it. A hippopotamus.
Sea World is the only theme park we did during our three days. Day two consisted of the pool and Downtown Disney. The evening culminated with a 9:15 dinner reservation at The Rainforest Café. I convinced Mike she would love it. I convinced him that the whimsical animated elephants and monkeys would delight her. I convinced him that it was worth the $103 dinner. I convinced him that this HAD to be the place we ate (as we drove by over 20 suitable dinner options). Alex convinced me I was SO wrong. She was terrified. Fortunately we had gone into a store just before dinner and bought her a little Mickey mouse light up and spin toy because I convinced her it was a magic wand that kept scary things away. Every time an animated animal made ANY noise, she held that light-up toy to her chest and looked around, eyes wide, just making sure her magic wand worked and that those animals stayed in their placed. I will NOT be getting mommy of the year (or wife of the year).
Alex ended up with some serious loot during these 72 hours:
- A “Shampoo” the whale stuffed animal (she just wasn’t grasping the Shamu concept so she calls him her “Shampoo” whale. Nobody had better correct her.
- A pink pony on a stick from Bass Pro Shops.
- A spinny light-up Mickey Mouse toy.
- A Minnie Mouse baby doll that wraps in a blanket (by far her favorite purchase).
- A Minnie Mouse tote bag (I wanted it…I convinced her she wanted it to).
- A bag of rocks from The Rainforest Café (she spent over 20 minutes playing with the display while we waited for our reservation time. She just moved the rocks from one location to another over and over and over again. It was amazing to watch her spend so much time getting absolutely nothing accomplished).
- We spend twelve million dollars. (Not really, but it felt that way. How do people take more than one child on vacation?)
Overall though, this kid was a champ. She was sweet. She was a good listener. She cuddled and played and giggled and we had a fantastic time.