Friday, December 08, 2006

Satiating the Mouse: Day 5, The final day: divorces, toads, and sake

As day 4 drew to a close, we had a late night snack in the hotel's Pop Century cafeteria, then brought it over to the bar, sitting down next to a couple who were alternatively watching Monday Night Football and loudly discussing the future of their relationship, which didn't seem to be going very well.

"This is how Monday Night Football should be watched," said Kevin, referring to the game ending at about midnight instead of 9:00 as it does on the west coast. He nursed his beer, while I checked the fantasy football scores on my Blackberry. To our left, the couple was arguing over how much effort each of them had put into their relationship. Married? I don't know, but I assume so.

Kim and Krys joined us (unlike Washington's archaic laws, kids can sit in the bar, but obviously can't order alcohol). And we watched the game, discussed the next 24 hours, and ate. The couple continued shouting (not too loudly), we watched the middle of the fourth quarter, and Kim, Krys, and I headed back to the hotel room.

Kevin showed up about half an hour later. For want of a clarifying verb, the couple's marriage was coming to an end. Apparently, the husband said, "I'm more interested in the game than you" to the wife. Kevin understood what he meant: "I'm more interested in the game than you are", but that's not the way she took it. Eep.

The previous day, I'd made day 5 reservations for breakfast at the Crystal Palace at the Magic Kingdom. We seem to always have a breakfast with Pooh and Piglet at Disneyland, and this trip would be no different. Bland, buffet, breakfast food -- as expected -- and I tried grits for the first time in my life. Bleaugh. After breakfast, we wandered into Tomorrowland, and Kevin accurately pointed out that at 9:00 on a November Tuesday morning, the Tomorrowland Plaza looked as empty as Seattle Center does on a typical day. We rode Stitch, and Space Mountain, then tried to track down the entrance to the Tomorrowland Transit Authority (we finally had to ask). Krys got into a conversation with the remote-control robotic garbage can that I had talked to on Day 2 (it had told me that my Trogdor shirt was cool, but Homestar Runner was cooler), and it sang her a birthday song and asked her for a hug -- then taunted her for hugging a trash can.

We rode Haunted Mansion, and Krys had on the way out, we stopped to take a close look at the pet cemetery that we couldn't see in the dark of our previous visit. Way in the back left corner was a statue of Mr. Toad. Apparently, when the new Winnie the Pooh ride was installed, kicking out Mr. Toad's Wild Ride, Disney decided to memorialize the old ride here. Pretty cool.

At lunch time, we headed over to Epcot by taking the ferry from the Magic Kindom to the transportation hub, then a monorail the rest of the way. Having ridden Washington State ferries several times, the ride was nothing special, except that the lake had no tide to worry about. On the other end, as we departed, the skipper pulled Krys aside, and required the hordes of people waiting to board to sing her "Happy Birthday" before he would allow them to board. Pretty special.

We briefly wandered over to the beach at The Polynesian resort, and poked at the white sand, then waited for the monorail. I'd heard a rumor, and confirmed it. By asking, we were able to sit in the front car of the monorail, with the driver, and see out forwards, instead of just out the sides. Pretty cool.

At Epcot, we got our Test Track fastpasses, then rode Mission Space again. It seemed much more intense, and we were much more goofy, now that I didn't have a liter of beer in my system. I was starting to get a headache, though.

We then wandered over to The Seas with Nemo et al., where we rode the recently opened Nemo ride. It was OK, nothing special, but kind of cool I guess. The ride projects the Finding Nemo characters into the Epcot aquarium, so it looks like they're interacting with the real fish. At the end, the shell-buggies opened, we stepped out, and Kim saw them:

"DOLPHEEEEEENS!!!" she squealed, bolting for the stairs to get a better look. I swear, if she was two years old, she'd have run out into traffic or needed a kid-leash or something. Krys tears off after her, and Kevin and I look at each other shaking our heads, no comprehension of how cool dolphins must be to females.

We wander around the aquarium, and queue up for Turtle Talk with Crush. I had low expectations of this, and was rally amazed at how interactive the computer animated show was. Crush takes questions from kids in the audience, says the kids names when he answers, comments on what they're wearing, and plays with the audience in a way that you know it's really interactive. Must be a camera, a booth with someone who's voice is a dead ringer for Crush, and some method of matching the mouth movements with the speech.

We then slowly made our way to Japan for dinner, stopping at Test Track (fun ride, but GM is really getting their money's worth with the marketing. Most rides at Disney World end in a gift shop; this one ends in a car showroom.

We shopped our way towards Japan, stopping in China for the Circlevision 360° show. Krys bought a Chinese parasol that she had her eye on earlier in the week, and we looked at the museum's show of several hundred ancient Chinese garden warrior spirits that had been unearthed in an archeological dig. Maybe I'll offend a good size chunk of the world's population here, but aren't these just old dirty garden gnomes?

We had dinner at Teppanyaki, a typical but nice Japanese steak house, very Benihana like. I was feeling sicker than I had all week, and merely picked at my food, but the rest of us really liked it. Krys had never been to a cook-in-front-of-you show place, other than Mongolian Grill, and was quite impressed. Kevin had warm sake, which he declared to be excellent. I tried it... feh.

Sick as a dog, I left the group early and headed back to the hotel. Rumor is that they shopped their way through the rest of the world. I packed for the next day's trip home -- I was taking an 8:00 a.m. flight out; the rest of them were leaving at 6:00 a.m., which means early to bed and gawdawful early to rise. They arrived as I was finishing packing, they packed, and we headed to bed. They awoke dark and early and headed out; I tried to go back to sleep for two hours, but was unsuccessful. An hour later, I got up, showered, and caught the bus to the airport.

At the airport, I was early enough, and security was fast enough, that I got to see the Kim, Kevin, and Krys off at the gate. That's unusual to be able to do these days. Their route took them home via Houston; mine was via Dallas. We both hit weather, and were delayed three hours in getting home. From Dallas, I arranged for the three of them to be met by a town car, which took them home (cheaper than a cab!). Otherwise, pretty uneventful trip back.

Good times.

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