Thursday, 26 February 2015

Is there a Winky in here?*

A better sleep for everyone resulted in a small lie-in, showers and a late breakfast at IHOP where pancakes were the order of the day. Smallest had one pancake with Apple Cinamon topping, sausage, bacon and scrambled egg. Small had a pile of chocolate chocolate pancakes, Huffle had White chocolate and raspberry pancakes and I had Double Blueberry pancakes with my own pot of coffee. That set us up nicely for the rest of the day.

Today we went to Animal Kingdom. We have been here before but this was Huffle's choice and him and Small had chosen our FastPasses (without consulting me - probably wise considering what they had chosen!). Huffle and Smallest both had birthday badges today and received 35 and 50 happy birthdays respectively. That was a lot!

We started on the Kali Rapids which was a wet one. We all got a bit wet but nothing like the man who sat opposite us who got completely soaked (in fact we saw him an hour later and he was still soaked). This was a great ride and we all liked this one.

To dry off a bit, we walked around the Animal Safari Trail where we saw bats, Tigers, birds and a Komodo Dragon. We spent a lot of time in Dinoland (but I won't mention it too much else Huffle will get annoyed. For some reason we kept ending up here). Our first FastPass was Primeval Whirl which looked strange but was really good. It was based on time travel and was an old fashioned white knuckle ride. Twirling, spinning, rickety roller coasting fun. Everyone loved this one.

Next we went on a tame Triceratops Spin. While we were on it we spotted Pluto and Goofy and queued up to have a huggle with them. We had quite a wait but we were fine with that. Goofy kissed my hand (the dirty dog). As we were walking away we spied Donald Duck and queued to have photos with him too. He wished Smallest a Happy Birthday (without speaking obviously) and Smallest got confused when the person with him asked how old he was (because it wasn't his actual birthday - silly bear).

We headed next for the Expedition Everest and had watched it on the way. It looked like a scary roller coaster. Both Smallest and I were a little dubious but the others pushed us along. Because we had FastPassed it, we didn't have time to worry about it and got straight on the ride. OMG, I don't think I have been on anything as scary. It went very very high, then twisty turny drops, then climbed, stopped, went backwards in the dark (at this point I had lost all sense of direction and had no idea whether we were going backwards, forwards or upside down). From this point I didn't really care as long as I didn't die! There was a yeti that broke the track and then we fell ARRRRGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHH. What a ride! I clutched my phone so tightly (Small sitting next to me kept saying put your phone away mummy quickly) and pressed my legs against the bars so hard, they left a mark. At the end I turned to look behind as that is where Smallest and Huffle were, and poor Snallest had a very pale hue and looked scared to death. When we saw the photos on the screen we laughed lots.

Smallest said he didn't scream (I beg to differ)

We grabbed a bite to eat from our bag of homemade stuff and went to watch the Lion King show. This was fabulous. We were feeling a little wobbly so this was perfect. Smallest and I wanted to be the monkies on the trampoline and Huffle wanted to be a trapeze monkey.

We went straight into the Its Tough to be a Bug. This was very funny and had me squealing when I had the effect of bugs on my seat. The kids thought this was great.

Smallest's lucky lucky penny stayed with us all day again but this time we made another one for Small with a lion on it and later, one for Huffle with the turtle from Nemo on it.

We joined a queue but didn't know what it was for, found out it was to meet Mickey and Minnie and decided to stay until a woman told us it was a twenty five minute wait. Everyone left the queue at which point we decided to rejoin it because it meant the wait time had gone down considerably.

Kilimanjaro Safari was next. Our driver was ill and disinterested and very dull (last time we went on this the driver was very animated and dramatic), ours just kept coughing and pointing and mumbling. Still, we got to see some lovely animals and this time I knew they were real. The woman behind me was annoying too though as she kept saying 'that's a not a real tree, it's made of concrete and painted' 'the Tigers are in an enclosure, I can see the fence!'. Stupid woman, ruining it for the kids!

Dinosaur was next. A dark ride, a bit like a ghost train but with dinosaurs. I hate the dark and I held on to poor Small all the way through, especially when a big dinosaur tried to bite me! This park closed at 5pm so we headed off to Epcot (saving our receipt from the car park, meant we didn't have to pay again - clever Huffle).

Our first ride was Space Ship Earth. This was a nice relaxing ride up into the Giant Golfball or Disco ball as Smallest called it. We got to travel through the past and into the future and then sent Grandad and ourselves a postcard of our future lives. Nemo ride was next where we sat in a clam and watched a quick version of Finding Nemo whilst gliding around in our shells. It ended in an aquarium where we spent some time wandering around watching the fish. Living on the Land had no queue so once again we hopped on. It was a boat trip which was very educational about some of the experiments they are doing in Epcot regarding growing of fruits and Vegetables using Aquaponics (I think that's the right word). This was a relaxing trip and the four of us had our own boat.

By the time we got out it was dark so we headed for 'England' and went to visit Christopher Robins room where we met Pooh and Tigger. Tigger bent down to give me a hug and a kiss and I heard a squeaky kiss sound from inside (naughty Tigger). Pooh wanted to hug Huffle because it was his birthday but he wouldn't let him. Small hugged Pooh because he knows he is my favourite. I was very excited and Tigger just wanted to bounce (I bet he did!).

We couldn't get a ride on Test Track or Soar because the wait was at least 60 mins so we opted instead for Space Mission. We didn't expect much and at the front of the queue it asked the normal questions 'do you not like enclosed spaces, dark, extreme force and movement, motion sickness?' OH YES ALL OF THEM. Once again I had no idea what I was letting myself in for. However, it was a simulater and all four of us had our own 'pod' and were secured by a neck/shoulder restraint. It was a very tight space and we each had our own screen. This ride was fantastic and I still feel a little weird and wobbly (two hours later). We went into space and the G-force (how do they do that?) was incredible. We couldn't lift our arms properly. It was very clever. There was such a lot of faff beforehand that I really thought it would be rubbish but we all thought this was one of our favourites.

We were about to go home until we realised the fireworks were about to start so we headed for the lake and sat on a bench. We saw these ones last time we were here but they were still spectacular (and noisy).

It was 9:30pm before we left and the boys were bouncing around as high as kites, silly as ships. They both went straight to bed when we got in.

Tomorrow is Huffle's 40th birthday and we are going to have a short day at Hollywood Studios followed by a Birthday Dinner with MrGator, Truly Scrumptious and Madam Courvoisier.

*while we were waiting to meet Mickey and Minnie, one of the cast members came in and shouted "is there a Winky in here?" While we were giggling a Southern drawl answered 'yes I'm Winky' (in our house, a Winky is a willy so we found this hilarious), "your husband is looking for you Winky". 'Wayl he caan just wayt for urs ouwatside then caynt he?" Said Winky (we were still giggling).





Wednesday, 25 February 2015

Home from Home?

I woke up completely deaf, after effects from the plane plus going in the swimming pool last night. Hopefully it clears up through the week. Huffle and I slept on and off in our enormous bed. It was very comfy but at times too warm (must check the air con). There was no sound from the boys first thing and Smallest's room was empty - we found him lying on Small's bed, the pair of them playing on their DS' and had been there for at last half an hour. See they can be nice to each other!

After breakfast we set off for Magic Kingdom. It only took us 15 minutes to drive there and then a short tram ride where we were told over and over again that we were Heroes and not to forget that we were Heroes. We had no idea why they were saying it until we were getting on the monorail and we saw two signs one saying Heroes and the other villains (it was all to do with which car park we were in).

Huffle got given a badge for his birthday. When we were here before (3 years ago) Huffle and Smallest were both celebrating their birthdays and the Cast Members like to any Happy Birthday if you are wearing a badge. Huffle decided to count how many he heard - he got 22 (about the same as before).

Smallest had an American Penny which was his lucky penny and he held on to it all day. When we found a penny press (that squished it into an oval and stamped the Splash Mountain onto it) he put his lucky penny in and then it became his lucky lucky penny which I had to hold on to when we went on fast rides.

A walk down Main Street where we bumped into Goofy and a funny cat and then off we went to Tomorrowland where we had a FastPass booked for Space Mountain. Before that we went in Stitch's Great Escape which was a strange ride. After walking through various bits and being talked at by aliens we sat down and had restraints on our shoulders and sat mainly in the dark with wind whistling through our hair and water being sprayed at us. The boys thought this was funny. Next we got a coffee for me as I hadn't had one yet. We tried to get into Monsters Inc Laugh In but I wasn't allowed with my drink so the boys all went in while I sat outside. They were gone for ages and ages.

Next we went on Space Mountain. No one really tells me anything about the rides we are going on, they keep it very quiet until I'm too far in to do anything about it. This one happened to be a very fast roller coaster in the dark. I went in with a headache and came out without my head (or it felt like it). Phew that was a fast one! This was one of our favourites. Carousel of Progress was our next ride. We thought this was the only one that Grandma would have liked, slow moving, sitting down with some singing. The Buzz Lightyear Spin ride was shooty ride (we went on this last time). Small won the target shooting but Small and I mainly shot some girls in the car behind ha ha ha!

We left Tomorrowland (shan't mention too much that we seemed to spend most of our day in Tomorrowland) and went on Splash Mountain (we ate our homemade lunch in this queue). Another one of our favourites. There was one very steep fall and we got a bit wet - the kids loved this.

We hopped on the Frontier Train and went to Fantasyland where we watched Mickeys Philharmonic - a 4D film where Smallest kept trying to touch the images popping out of the screen and we got sprayed with water. Big Thunder Railroad in Frontierland was next. Another roller coaster that everyone decided not to tell me about. This was fast, up and downy and very windy (curly not blowy). Very good ride.

Pirates of the Carribean was one we had done before but had forgotten (no wonder - it wasn't that good). We queued for quite a while but at least we got a nice sit on a boat for a while). We felt we needed an ice cream so queued for ages at the only ice cream parlour. Huffle decided we were having a double scoop which was far too big really. Mine and Smallest's were left on the counter too long so by the time we got it it was dripping (I should have complained really but we were warm and in need of it). We sat ourselves down and listened to the band playing on Main Street. Smallest's ice cream fell and we quickly scooped it back up and told him to eat the bit that didn't fall. Then mine fell off too. I blame the lady that didn't serve it quick enough! They were very nice though despite the bits of road! We managed to quickly FaceTime Grandma and Grandad but it was very noisy and busy.

Back to TomrorowLand we went (not saying anything) and a ride called Astro Orbiter. Up in a lift and then in rockets. Mine was piloted by Small who made us fly far too high. I felt quite dizzy but the kids liked it. Indy 500 was next where we drove cars on a track. Mine had tortoise petrol in it and didn't want to go anywhere and I was bumped by Huffle and Smallest (despite the fact you aren't allowed to bump!). The steering was tough and you were attached so there wasn't really anywhere to go.

Prince Charmings Carousel in Fantasyland had virtually no queue so We went on that.

Smallest desperately wanted to go on Its a Small World and all day the queues had been too long so when we went past and it was only ten mins, we hopped on. He said he was disappointed as he remembered it being much better but Small and I had fun trying to name the different countries.

Huffle got us on the River Cruise which wasn't very good. Lots of very poor jokes from our skipper. The boys and I went on the Magic Craiet Ride while Huffle looked for somewhere to eat. He couldn't find us anywhere and we settled on a good place to watch the Electric Parade and had a couple of sweets.

(Huffle edit - rant alert). One thing I don't like about Disney is when the parades are on, the streets get roped off and lots of Jobsworthy men and women suddenly get all uppity and stop you walking on the road, stop you from leaning on a bin or move you away. We were behind some people who were behind a rope in a corner bit. Not hurting anyone, minding our own business waiting for the parade. Then along came a man who looked at us funny and whispered to another man who then moved us away and said we couldn't stand there because there would be heavy machinery nearby! Huffle called him a weiner and boo'd the man who whispered to the other man. We all moved back. Then the parade was delayed for about twenty minutes but we couldn't go anywhere because we were then blocked in.

However, the Electric Parade, when it did arrive, was very very good. Lots of colourful lit up floats and characters. We got waves from Mickey and Tinkerbell and some of the others. We attempted to go and find food again but got caught up in the Light Show which was excellent. The castle was all lit up with different projections cast upon it and then came the fireworks. These were spectacular. We did have to stop a German man from blocking Smallest's view and Small did kick him a little when he tried to step on him!

After the show we found food (in TomorrowLand of all places) and rested our weary feet. We decided to call it a day as it was 9pm and then found we had got stuck in another parade. We snuck across the road with out being seen and sneaked out and onto the monorail. Back to the Trams where we waited patiently, only to be almost split up when a man and his girls pushed their way across us. We squashed in until we were all in and got back to the car park.

A short drive and we were back at our house. The kids went straight to bed and Huffle and I had a cuppa and rested our very weary feet. Plans have gone to pot now as there is a storm due early hours of tomorrow (not tomorrowland) into the first part of the morning.

What a busy but good day.



Tuesday, 24 February 2015

-26* to +24* in three hours

A terrible night's sleep from Huffle and I but the kids slept beautifully. The alarm went off at 2:45am - not nice. I woke the boys up. I can't believe how quickly they got themselves dressed (bit different to a school day). Huffle wanted us to be in the car by 3am and we managed 3:05am due to the fact that I couldn't get the front door to lock, thankfully in the end it did. We had packed everything in the car last night and when we got in the car my phone wouldn't switch on due to it being too cold. The temperature was -20* (feels like -26*). The car (we went in Huffle's) was very sluggish and slow and the heater took for ever to get going. It was soooo very cold.

By the time we got to the airport car park we were toasty warm and then we had to reluctantly ditch our coats, hats and gloves and walk to the monorail. Everyone's teeth were chattering but at least it didn't take us long to get inside where it was warm again. Huffle had done all of our online checking in etc so we joined the bag drop line, only to be told that we had to print out our baggage tags. Out of line and back to the machines showing it each of our passports and then back on line to drop our bags. Except that you don't drop your bags, you get them weighed and then take them with you to US border which is in the Canadian airport. Luckily our queue was much shorter than the Canadian queue. Our border official had a sense of humour which is helpful at 4am. He tried to copy our accents, talked about football and laughed when I said 'Orlando' in a British way! After being fingerprinted and photographed (not the kids) we went and dropped our bags off and joined the customs queue where we met Craig Revel Horwood (or a lookout/soundalike).

Out of the four of us, they chose me to be swabbed (I must look more dubious) and then the machine randomly picked out Smallest to be searched. They swabbed him instead of searching him and we went off to find some breakfast. Starbucks was the only place we could find open at that time. Just before 6am we boarded our little plane. Three seats each side of an aisle with very little leg room and we watched the sun come up as we took off. The boys played on their gadgets (no films for us today).

Smallest's 'smelly' basking in the sunshine on the plane.

One the plane there was one toilet for the whole plane (obviously not including posh section), which caused a little amount of trouble towards the end of the flight when everyone decided they wanted to go at the same time. I only go if I really have to (not a fan of those small spaces especially when as soon as I get in there, the clouds decide to be very bumpy) and the rest of the family waited for landing.

We found our way to baggage claim and picked up our bags easily and then went to get our hire car. A bit of a sales spin on trying to sell us every kind of insurance, toll pass, extra bigger car etc etc and then we were on our way. We were all hungry so stopped at a diner place. It wasn't great but it was okay and they were nice people. Huffle then took us straight to a beach where we donned our shorts and sandals and plonked ourselves right down.

The boys went straight into the water even though it felt really icy to me. The waves were huge (quite big Mrs Rumbleskins) and were knocking the kids over. No-one else was in the water and we later found out that there was quite an undercurrent there which is probably why no-one was swimming (though it really was cold in there). It was quite cloudy but still lovely and warm and then it started to rain. Then it got heavier and we decided to drive the 1.5 hours to our house and pick up some food on the way. The traffic was horrendous but we found it in the end. Smallest looked at it from the outside and said "this is the worst holiday home ever, I at least expected two floors!". The cheeky monkey. Once he got inside and found we all had a room each and we all had a bathroom each and the pool was heated, he decided it was the best place ever and wanted to live here for the rest of his life.

We popped to the supermarket for food and a kindly man packed our bags and then walked us to the car with our trolley. This made Huffle very uncomfortable and he said "I can take it from here" but he insisted. He even put the bags in the boot, so Huffle felt obliged to ask him if he should tip him. The man said not to feel obliged, it was just part of the service. Huffle edit - for those who know Larry David it was Definately one of those moments.

When we got back we all went into the pool. It was lovely. We played for a while and then got out and had a quick bite and a drink and then all had showers. This was a rigmarole as I had only brought one bottle of shower gel due to the fact I thought we had one bathroom between us. I ran between Small and Smallest's bathroom passing things to and fro. They put their clothes away and Smallest ended up in Small's room watching his TV (but he wasn't allowed in the bed!!!).

It has been a very long day and we have been up for hours and hours. I hope we sleep tonight.


Monday, 23 February 2015

Hours Away from warmth

Both boys were still in bed when I got up. Small was asleep and had to be woken and said "but aren't we going on holiday?" And Smallest lay in bed reading his book. "I thought we had to stay in bed because we were going on holiday". Tomorrow - you wallies! Then Smallest came downstairs wearing the clothes we had put out for him to wear on the plane.

-21* with windchill of -30* this morning which actually hurt my bare ankles as I was looking for sun hats in the sun room (sun room Pah, we should be calling it the chiller at the moment as there is no way you can go in there voluntarily). Despite the coldness, I made sure the boys were outside and ready for the bus this morning.

Huffle worked from the bunker and I ran around the house looking for things we hadn't yet packed, including my sun hat which I was convinced was hidden under a couple of feet of snow when we built the snowmen originally. I never did find it!

Huffle worked from the bunker and I spent the day washing, packing, charging, clearing, tidying and sorting. I managed a Skype with Moo and a quick Skype with Grandma and Grandad.

During the charging of various devices we lost the DS charger and found it again, we realised Small's IPad wasn't ever going to charge ever again,

When the boys came home they showered, tidied their rooms, packed their flight bags and played on the wii. There was some confusion over whether the piano teacher was coming or not (Smallest passed on a message!!!) and she never appeared so we had dinner early, cancelled Scouts and Beavers and watched Tv and went to bed early.

See you in Florida (hands waving frantically with an excited grin on face).



Sunday, 22 February 2015

Hello John

More snow overnight accumulated. We think about 6" fell and it carried on for the rest of today. Relentless!

After breakfast, Huffle went off to the walk in doctors and the boys and I played Tumblin' Monkeys and Super Mario Bros. Huffle came back after being diagnosed as having an infection (he has stuff to make him better now). We left the boys playing on the wii and packed all their holiday gear (definitely packed Small's favourite small's!).

Huffle and the boys played on the wii while I finished off my knitting. I now have one Yoga sock which I ended up making in just two days! I might take the other one to do on the plane.

Out and about

No snow in the car park but a nice big puddle

We went out for a late lunch. It was a nice relaxing place and we took our time. Whilst I was taking photos, I noticed that someone close by to me was using AIRDROP (for those not familiar with such technology, airdrop allows you to drop photos onto another's Apple device quickly). It said that John was close by so we took a photo to send to him.......

But we chickened out at the last minute. It would have been funny though wouldn't it?

The restaurant we were in had 2-1 cake offers so we took advantage and brought two pieces home for tea later. Back home we started on the unending task of clearing the snow. Everyone got stuck in. The boys were working to earn money for holiday. Eventually we finished and the boys decided to tunnel through our biggest snowman while Huffle and I went for a walk down to the bottom of the garden. Huffle didn't quite make it though as he got stuck clearing the snow off the trampoline. We cleared all the snow off and then came in for a cup of tea that Small had made for us.

Shovelling, climbing, snow angels.
Trees, icesabres, icicles and Rusty fence

Trampolines, shovelling, snow, garden, bench and more snow

Everyone played on their gadgets (well I was blogging, is that playing?).

Tea was eaten whilst watching Brother Bear and the end of the snowboarding film from yesterday and then we sent our bears to bed so we could eat the last of the cake they didn't eat.



Saturday, 21 February 2015

But they're my best pants!*

More snow through the night making the roads, cars and drive completely covered once again, adding to the huge pile of snow everywhere and making everywhere feel artic like. We had a nice lie in and the bigger boys watched football while Smallest and I played on the wii. I knitted and watched a bit of the sewing bee while the football continued and the smaller boys played on the wii until they argued and we sent them off for showers.

We played a few games with lunch in between and it carried on snowing. The forecast for Florida is looking nicely warm for when we arrive and I think we are all very ready for some sunshine (though there is rain forecast there too).

Another classic family favourite - Prehistoric Park. The boys thought it was hilarious that Huffle had to play as a blonde girl!

The kids stuck these stickers on Huffle's back without him knowing.

After dinner we watched a film about snowboarding, Huffle had a bath and eventually the boys went to bed.

There has been no snow plough all day on our road. Where is it? We are hoping it doesn't come during the night and wake us up!

I feel like we are trapped in our home with the snow making it difficult for us to get out and the cold making it too cold to do anything. We HAVE to get out tomorrow!

*Small talking about his holiday pants (undies) when we told him to take a clean pair from his holiday pile.