Claire woke up a few times in the night with a rough cough. Poor girl. Being sick really puts a damper on the whole family vacation thing. Karin suggested that rather than push her too much we coordinate our riding today, score some Fast Passes, and take it a bit slower. So, I went off about ninety minutes ahead of the girls this morning to try and grab some Star Tours Fast Passes while Claire got her feet under her for the day. Of course, I should have realized it, but you can’t get passes on a ticket that hasn’t been validated for the day — so, I was only able to get one. With a bit of time to kill before I was due to meet up with the family, I took a spin through Space Mountain (not as great as I remembered it) and another trip on Star Tours.
After meeting up around 10AM, we wandered over to California Adventure park. Karin wanted one more run through the Toy Story Midway Mania ride before we went home. We did that — the line still stupidly long — and then passed through Bug’s Land (Claire wanted a ride there) and onto the Monsters Inc ride at the North end of the park.
Something must have struck a chord with Claire because despite being at a fairly groggy and low point of her health, she perked up for long enough to request and sit through another round of Turtle Talk with Crush (where the animated turtle from Finding Nemo interacts with the audience… Dude!) and another session of the Animation Academy (where we learned to sketch the Cheshire Cat.) But those two did her in for a bit longer and we ended up setting her up for a nap in the stroller (rented) while we went back over to Disneyland.
What followed was essentially a textbook case of how to be a bad parent and still have fun while toting a sick kid around Disneyland. I watched Claire while Karin used my (earlier scored) Star Tours Fast Pass. Then Karin watched Claire while I took a solo run through the Pirates of the Caribbean, landing prime seating alone at the front row of the boat.
By this point the place was pretty much crawling and crazy, so Karin took Claire back to the hotel for a bit and I stayed to settle up a few things. First, we had managed to take 47 photos on our Photo Pass — the only way we get family photos on this trip — so I sprung the ridiculous price of sixty bucks for the CD. I also had spotted a few vantages for some miniature-style photography over the week that I wanted to get up to and try out. So I did all that and took one more turn through the Haunted Mansion before scooting back to the hotel to check on the gals.
Now, the thing you’ve got to understand is that Karin had this week planned to the nines. Claire wasn’t supposed to be sick, of course. Our seven day adventure was all culminating in tonight when — booked a month or two previous — Karin had reserved us VIP seating for the Fantasmic light and water show. While all the rest of the riff-raff wait for hours for a nice seat to watch the flagship spectacle, we were just to take our (again, ridiculously overpriced) tickets to the special area where we were to get a plated dessert, beverage service, and chairs in prime location for the show. But then Claire was sick. And we didn’t really want to give those tickets up.
(On a side note, my earlier speculation about the ships was corrected by a hard-core Disney fan we met in line waiting to check in for our reservation. I had earlier in the week assumed because the ship makes sucha tight turn in the winding lake-slash-river that it must be on rails. Turns out I’m close but wrong. The two boats are actually on wheels and essentially drive around the river in underwater grooved tracks. He had seen it when they were doing renovations last year. He knew a lot of other weird trivia about the park, too. You occasionally meet a fan like this, and they are happy to tell you every bit they know because you are an out of town tourist.)
Claire had a three hour afternoon nap. We gave her some Advil and a non-stop liquids. And while she coughed her poor little lungs out, we waited for the show, wandered for another spin on Winnie the Pooh’s ride, and propped her up in a chair to catch a few glimpses of the show that was to be the capping of our week. She sort of watched it. I ate too much, but smartly ordered a hot tea which was an awesome and much needed switch from the non-stop sugary drinks here. And then the fire and lasers lit up the little Disney river, dragons and princesses and pirates entertained, Mickey Mouse stood atop a platform and shot fireworks from his hands, and that… well, that was that. The lights dropped and we once again were done.
Claire and I worked our way out of the park — a large group of middle school girls on class trip serenading us (but more so themselves) with ensemble renditions of some unfamiliar pops songs most of the walk back to our hotel — while Karin stayed behind for a few more rides. But, here I sit in a dark hotel room knowing that tomorrow morning we go home. And another vacation is over.
Read more vacation travel posts on my Random Travel Writing page!