January 17… and it ended up something like this:
We squeezed in one more day at the Magic Kingdom. Pass confusion. Race rest days. Magic band mayhem earlier in the vacation. It all meant that for about ten bucks we were able to do one minor little tweak and we all had yet one more day in a park. So, we chose the Magic Kingdom.
Things were fairly quiet when we arrived. We did a couple rides. Claire zipped through two unusually-short lines get photos and autographs with four princesses — Rapunzel, Snow White, Aurora and Cinderella — all in about fifteen minutes, counting the photo time.
And then we just took it easy for a while.
During Karin’s research for this trip she had read (and watched on YouTube a little, too) about this new game that Disney has wedged into the Magic Kingdom. Aptly named, the “Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom” game is one part video game, one part card trading game, and one part scavenger hunt. You sign up, you get a starter pack of cards, and then you follow the clues to the various portals hidden around the park. When you activate a portal, the game appears on a wall or a screen nearby and you can use your cards — which you can collect and trade — to ast spells in the video game portion of the game. You do this by standing at the right spot and holding up one or more cards in the direction of the portal.
We got some starter packs and spent a good two or three hours racing from portal to portal playing a full nine-phase first round of the game. Claire’s interest waxed and waned as the day wore on, but we interspersed it with some more rides and with some of the shows we’d missed on earlier visits, and so she held out to the end.
But soon evening crept close and our dinner reservations were poking over the horizon. At some point in here my head clicked and I was done. It was over. I went from sad to go to ready to leave: the vacation was in “let’s go home” mode.
We did one last train loop of the park and waved good-bye. We caught the Disney transports — the monorail and the bus — to Downtown Disney and caught up with our other four traveling companions for dinner.
Dinner. That was something else: my brain is still spinning from a meal at the T-Rex Restaurant. The lights. The noise. The chaos. The onslaught of sensory stimuli from every direction. I don’t know what to say about it, actually.
Highlights of the day include:
1) The artist. The tooth fairy found Claire last night and brought her a “how to draw Disney Characters” book. She must have seen me eyeing it at Hollywood Studios last week. Claire sat on the bed this morning trying her darndest to draw Mickey Mouse.
2) The princesses. As cliche as I sometimes imagine it to be, there is something neat about seeing the big grin on your daughter’s face when she gets to have her photo with a Disney Princess. I’ll eat those words someday, but today I’m brimming.
3) Leaving the park: after all the worry and wonder that surrounds this kind of vacation, the fiasco with our last Disney trip of dealing with Claire and the flu, the race training and preparation, and the issues we had this time round with tickets, having concluded with nothing gone irreparably wrong or broken, I was feeling pretty content about a successful vacation as it ended when we stepped through those gates this evening.
And now, a late evening of packing. The bus comes early. The plane leaves around noon. And this time tomorrow night we’ll be at home wondering why it’s not time for bed yet. It’s been one crazy vacation.